Phl, Argentina seal MOU for agri cooperation

Author: DA Communications Group | 29 June 2022

The Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Argentine Republic’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries (MAGyP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote agricultural cooperation between the two countries on June 29, 2022.

“It recognizes the contribution of the agro-industrial sector to the economy of both countries. [It] provides the general framework of cooperation in the agriculture, livestock, and agro-industrial sectors. And it particularly lists the very important areas of mutual interest,” shared Argentine Republic Ambassador to the Philippines Ricardo Bocalandro, referring to the MOU.

Under the signed Memorandum, the two countries will be working on proposed areas of cooperation, specifically:

  • the conduct of variety trials of soybean in the Philippines, as requested by the DA – National Corn Program (NCP);
  • the conduct of training on pest management to learn Argentina’s best practices in pest surveillance and other pests and diseases management strategies, as requested by the DA – Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI);
  • the shared interest on precision and digital agriculture; and
  • the Argentine Republic’s provision of technical assistance for the establishment of the Technology Demonstration for the Silo-Bag and Grain Storage in research stations in DA’s Regional Field Offices.

The MOU also strengthens the ongoing talks of technical cooperation on the production of sustainable organic rice, with the Argentina National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) and the Argentina National Service of Health and Agri-food Quality (SENASA) requesting for the conduct of training sessions by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

Prior to the MOU signing, the Philippines and the Argentine Republic successfully conducted the capacity-building for livestock production for dairy purposes from 2017 to 2019, as well as the “State of the Investigation on Genetic Editing in Argentina in the Philippines” webinar conducted jointly by the MAGyP – National Directorate of Bio-economy and the DA – Biotechnology Program Office (BPO) in 2021.

Acknowledging climate change, pests and pathogens, and other emerging diseases as threats to agricultural productivity and sustainability, Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar welcomed the partnership with the Argentine Republic.

“The Philippines can certainly learn from Argentina’s approach to technology development and genetic engineering in our pursuit and campaign for cost- and environment-friendly technologies to increase yield and income while inspiring and adopting circularity in our operations,” Secretary Dar said.

As for the pending revalidation of accreditations of eight Argentine foreign meat establishments (FMEs) authorized to export bovine meat, the Secretary assured that the Philippines continue to allow the entry of exports “in the spirit of minimizing trade disruptions.”

In 2021, the Philippines recorded a total of USD 333.15 M for its agricultural and fisheries trade with Argentina, also noting a trade balance of USD 311.75 M in favor of the latter. Among the country’s top exports to the Argentine Republic include carrageenan, edible plant parts, desiccated coconut, seaweed, and copra oil. Its top Argentinian import products, on the other hand, are oilcake and solid residues, soybean, mandarin, and protein concentrates.

With 2023 marking the 75th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Argentina, Ambassador Bocalandro expressed hope that both countries will be “ready by then to communicate important achievements to our governments in the field of agricultural cooperation.”

From the DA, Undersecretary for Policy, Planning, and Research Fermin Adriano, International Affairs Division Chief Janet Garcia, and Desk Officer for the Americas Dayanara Lausa also graced the event. Minister Plenipotentiary Andrea Repetti also represented the Argentine Republic during the MOU Signing. ### (Krystelle Ymari A. Vergara, DA-AFID)

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