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Philippines beefs up ties with Papua New Guinea

Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - February 4, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines continues to strengthen its ties with Oceanian nation Papua New Guinea, this time for the development of both countries’ fisheries sector.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol led the Philippine team from the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in discussing fisheries development with the National Fisheries Authority of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea.

Piñol and the Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources Patrick Basa inked a memorandum of understanding on fisheries cooperation.

The MOU has identified several areas of cooperation, which include the promotion of fishing ventures in both countries’ waters, post-harvest and fish processing development, training and technology transfer, and joint research activities, among others.

The latest MOU follows the first MOU signed by the two governments in 2009 which state provisions on mutual cooperation, consultation, and exchange of technical assistance in fisheries research and development in the Philippines and Papua New Guinea.

To ensure the implementation of the MOU, a Joint Committee on Fisheries Cooperation composed of representatives from both countries and the implementing arrangements are being reviewed and vetted.

The MOU shall remain in force for a period of five years and shall be reviewed for renewal thereafter.

In November 2018, both countries also signed an agricultural cooperation agreement that would help improve the Oceanian country’s rice industry and in turn secure a ready market for Philippine rice imports.

President Duterte has directed the DA to pursue the rice development project between the two nations to ensure sufficient rice supply for both countries in the coming years.

The program is expected to supply the rice requirements of Papua New Guinea and assure the Philippines of sufficient rice supply produced by Filipino farmers.

Papua New Guinea has already offered an initial 50,000 hectares of uncultivated land and as much as two million hectares more could be developed into rice farms.

Papua New Guinea has 48 million hectares of arable land with only eight million population. It imports about 300,000 to 400,000 metric tons of rice annually.

The Philippines, on the other hand, imports about one million MT of rice every year.

EMMANUEL PIñOL PAPUA NEW GUINEA
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