The Department of Agriculture (DA) is seeking to at least double the value of trade relations with Canada in the medium term by exporting more farm and fishery products.
“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,” Agriculture secretary William Dar, expressed during a virtual courtesy call with new Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines, Peter MacArthur.
He claimed that they’ve mutually agreed to pursue and expand ongoing areas of agricultural cooperation and partnership, particularly on potato, dairy, food logistics and market as well as agro-forestry, among other joint undertaking.
DA noted that last year the Philippines exported to Canada close to $98.8 million of farm and fishery products led by coconut products with a share of $23.8 million followed by pineapples, dried guavas, mangoes and mangosteen at $10.3 million and bangus and tuna at $9.4 million.
Dar explained that with about one million Filipinos residing and working in Canada or about 2.7 percent of that country’s 37.7 million population, demand for various Philippine food products is expected to grow.
On the other hand, Canada exported last year $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 at $20 million; potatoes –at $11.6 million; and pig fat at $6.7 million.
Dar also mentioned that the first phase of adaptation trials of eight Canadian potato varieties in Natubleng, Buguias, Benguet province were completed with the second phase to commence starting October.
The DA chief expressed that if the adaptation trials would succeed, Cordillera farmers could subsequently produce their own seed pieces instead of relying on importation to produce commercial quantities for both table and processing use.