As the Philippines expands its economic and trade relations with Canada, the Department of Agriculture (DA) aims to export more farm and fishery products to that country, by at least doubling the value in the medium term.

“We wish to improve our balance of trade with Canada in succeeding years by selling more Filipino products like coconut water, virgin coconut oil or VCO, pineapples, mangoes, and melons,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar, during a virtual courtesy call of new Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines, His Excellency Peter MacArthur, recently.

Dar and MacArthur mutually agreed to pursue and expand ongoing areas of agricultural cooperation and partnership, particularly on potato, dairy, food logistics and market, and agro-forestry, among other joint undertakings.

The Philippines exported to Canada close to US$98.8M of farm and fishery products, led by coconut products, pineapples, dried guavas, mangoes and mangosteen and bangus and tuna.

In 2019, the Philippines exported about $98.8 million of farm and fishery products to Canada. The products included coconut products ($23.8M); pineapples, dried guavas, mangoes and mangosteen ($10.3M); and bangus (milkfish) and tuna ($9.4M).

With about one million Filipinos residing and working in Canada — representing 2.7 percent of that country’s 37.7 M population, according to latest estimates — demand for various Philippine food products is expected to grow.

On the other hand, Canada in 2019 exported $192-M worth of various food products. Exported were frozen swine meat and offals ($57.3M); deboned meat, hams, and other meat products ($20M); potatoes ($11.6M); and pig fat ($6.7M).

“The first phase of adaptation trials of eight Canadian potato varieties in Natubleng, Buguias, Benguet province were completed and the second phase will commence starting October.”

“We are pleased to know that the first phase of adaptation trials of eight Canadian potato varieties in Natubleng, Buguias, Benguet province were completed, and the second phase will commence starting October,” the agriculture chief said.

If the adaptation trials would succeed, yielding quality and cost-efficient potatoes than traditional varieties, Cordillera farmers could subsequently produce their own seed pieces instead of relying on the importation, and produce in commercial quantities of potatoes for both table and processing use, the agriculture head said.

The trials are jointly implemented by the DA’s Cordillera Administrative Region and high-value crops development program, Canada’s Prince Edward Island Potato Board and Embassy of Canada.

He also appreciated the partnership among the DA through the National Dairy Authority (NDA), Dairy Confederation of the Philippines (DCP), and Dairy Pro, of CGW Canada, Inc., to enhance the capacities of DCP member cooperatives in Batangas and Laguna in dairy production, processing, and marketing.

For his part, MacArthur affirmed to assist the Duterte administration through the DA in establishing producers’ markets improving food supply logistics, and implementing an agro-forestry program benefiting indigenous communities in the country.

In concluding the virtual meeting, Dar said: “We are counting on staunch partners like Canada as the Duterte administration embarks on our Plant, Plant, Plant program to realize our vision of a food-secure and a resilient Philippines with prosperous farmers and fisherfolk.”


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