Home » Breaking News, Customs & Trade, Press Releases » PH eyes twice as much agri-fishery exports to Canada

Canadian ambassador to the Philippines Peter MacArthur (left) and Agriculture secretary William Dar during a recent virtual courtesy call | Screengrab from DA

The Department of Agriculture (DA) seeks to double the value of farm and fishery products to Canada in the coming years.

“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,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said during the recent virtual courtesy call of new Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines Peter MacArthur.

In 2019, the Philippines exported close to US$99 million of farm and fishery products to Canada, while the latter exported about $192 million worth of various food products to the country, with the balance of trade tipping in Canada’s favor.

Philippine farm and fishery products exports to Canada last year included coconut products totaling $23.8 million; pineapples, dried guavas, mangoes and mangosteen valued at $10.3 million; and bangus and tuna worth $9.4 million.

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

On the other hand, Canada exported about $192 million worth of various food products in 2019, led by frozen swine meat and offals, $57.3 million; deboned meat, hams, and other meat products, $20 million; potatoes, $11.6 million; and pig fat, $6.7 million.

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

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

If the adaptation trials successfully yield higher quality and more cost-efficient potatoes than traditional varieties, Cordillera farmers could subsequently produce their own seeds instead of relying on importation, and produce the potatoes in commercial quantities for both table and processing use, the DA chief said.

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

MacArthur assured the DA of Canadian assistance in establishing producers’ markets, improving food supply logistics, and implementing an agro-forestry program benefiting indigenous communities in the Philippines.

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