THE International Finance Corp. (IFC) of the World Bank Group is now working with the Department of Agriculture to improve post-harvest inspection and quarantine procedures to reduce losses and ensure better acceptance for Philippine products in the world market.
IFC presented a five-year program to improve food safety—particularly on inspections and quarantine of local and imported meat and fish products that would benefit some 1,500 agribusiness ventures and save around $12 million from reduced cost in complying with import and export safety requirements.
At present, IFC is advising the Philippine government how to streamline trade practices and focusing inspections on goods that pose the highest risk to the reputation and quality of locally made products.
Being the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector, the IFC is helping the DA to set up an online system for sharing data about risks found in agri-fishery products that affect humans, plants and animals.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said the streamlining of quarantine procedures would help prepare the country for the Asean integration by 2015.
“These trade logistics reforms are far-reaching, and we want our
decisions informed by feedback from our stakeholders,” Alcala said.
“We want to say that the imported and domestically produced meat, milk, fish and plant products are safe for human consumption. We also want to assure other countries that ‘proudly Philippine-made products’ are free of pests and diseases,” Alcala said.
IFC and the DA are holding consultations this week with local agri-fishery businesses on how to improve the country’s border inspection procedures and combat pests and diseases in plants, fish and animal.
“The program will help reduce the cost of compliance with quarantine requirements and provide round-the-clock, real-time access to import and export trade data for better risk management and trade analysis,” said IFC resident representative Jesse Ang.
The partnership between IFC and the DA is supported by the Canadian government.