More agriculture exports to Canada eyed
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - August 12, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is eyeing  a wider presence in Canada with plans to  export more farm and fishery products.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar recently had a virtual meeting with new Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines Peter MacArthur in a bid to expand economic and trade relations between the two countries.

“We wish to improve our balance of trade with Canada in succeeding years by selling more Filipino products like coconut water, virgin coconut oil, pineapples, mangoes and melons,” Dar said.

Both countries agreed to pursue and expand ongoing areas of agricultural cooperation and partnership, particularly on potato, dairy, food logistics and market and agroforestry.

Last year, the Philippines exported $98.8 million worth of farm products to Canada. Bulk of which are coconut products worth $23.8 million, pineapples, dried guavas, mangoes and mangosteen valued at  $10.3 million, and milkfish and tuna  ($9.4 million).

On the other hand, Canada exported $192 million worth of various food products led by frozen swine meat and offals at $57.3 million, deboned meat, hams, and other meat products $20 million, potatoes  $11.6 million and pig fat at $6.7 million.

With about one million Filipinos residing and working in Canada, representing 2.7 percent of the country’s 37.7 million population, demand for various Philippine food products is expected to grow, Dar said.

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

The first phase of adaptation trials of eight Canadian potato varieties in Benguet province have been complete  with the second phase commencing in October.

If the adaptation trials would succeed, Cordillera farmers could  produce their own seed pieces instead of relying on importation, and produce in commercial quantities  potatoes for both table and processing use.

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

Dar also lauded the partnership among National Dairy Authority, Dairy Confederation of the Philippines, and Dairy Pro of CGW Canada Inc. to improve dairy production, processing and marketing.

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