Palace: US, PH agree to set ministerial level team on agri cooperation
WASHINGTON D.C., United States — The Philippines and the United States have agreed to set a ministerial team on agricultural cooperation as the Marcos administration puts focus on food efficiency and security, Malacañang said early Tuesday morning (Monday US time).
According to the Presidential Communications Office (PCO), the partnership was sealed during a meeting between President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and US Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials led by Secretary Thomas Vilsack.
Marcos said the meeting with the USDA was important “simply because there are things that we are hoping to be able to partner with the United States when it comes to the agricultural sector.”
He noted the “weaknesses” the Philippines had discovered during the lockdowns at the height of the pandemic and the shortages in food supply.
He said it was crucial for him to take up the post of DA secretary in the Philippines “because agriculture is a very complicated issue, especially in the Philippines.”
“As we had started to plan our way out of the pandemic economy, even the financial experts, we would talk about the economy, we would talk about the more strictly financial aspects of the development economy, we still keep coming back to agriculture and we cannot do all of the things that we would like to do for our economy if our agriculture is not — there are agricultural system — is not strengthened,” the President said, as quoted by the PCO.
In the meeting, Manila sought to boost mutually beneficial agreements to strengthen agriculture research for development, capacity-building initiatives specific to the advancement of biotechnology agenda in the country, as well as expanding market access of Philippine agricultural products to the US.
The USDA, for its part, also looked forward to strengthened knowledge transfer between the US and the Philippines as well as continued cooperation on agriculture innovation systems, the PCO said.
In the meeting, the President also expressed hope that the upcoming Food Security Dialogue on May 5 will further boost cooperation on capacity-building and technology support as the country works together in building effective and efficient supply chains, export, and value-chain development of agricultural commodities.
Marcos said the goal is to strengthen research and development in the agricultural sector, particularly on biotechnology centers, geospatial databases, climate-proof facilities, and information services.
“This is an extremely important part of the transformation of our society and of our economy for the post-pandemic world,“ he said.