Manila has secured a number of trade commitments and agreements with South Korean businesses – including a partnership on corn and deals on other animal feedstock exports – that could help boost incomes in the local agro-fishery industries, the Department of Agriculture (DA) announced on Monday.
Back from a five-day visit to South Korea, DA Secretary Proceso Alcala told a press conference in Manila that the Philippines can now look forward to additional exports of corn silage and other animal feedstock, following the signing of a memorandum of understanding for “better business efficiency and friendly relations” between Hapchon Livestock Cooperative Union and Filipino groups Benacorn Corp. and Ploughshares Inc.
The Philippines is now looking to increase corn silage exports to South Korea to 2,000-3,000 metric tons by the third quarter of 2014 from the current monthly level of 1,000 MT, he said.
“At present, this is the volume that we can commit,” he said, adding that South Korea’s need is about 7,000 MT of corn silage monthly to meet its domestic requirement.
The Philippine delegates and counterpart agencies in Seoul have also agreed to expand technical cooperation on food safety and sustainable food production systems, he said.
At the same time, several South Korea-based firms have expressed strong interest in importing Peking duck meat and fishery products from the Philippines, Alcala said.
He mentioned Japan Food Corp., TC Foods and Dawon Corp., as among those companies whose officers met with him on several occasions.
“We will link them with local producers now that the Philippines has an advantage for such commodities. For Peking duck, the country can boast of its avian influenza-free status as a guarantee,” Alcala said.
Alcala also met with his counterpart, South Korean Agriculture Minister Lee Dong-Phil, to personally thank him for his government’s approval six months ago of the entry into their country of Philippine poultry products through Bulacan-based Bounty Fresh Inc.
Based on Bureau of Agricultural Statistics records, Manila shipped some 1,000 MT of poultry products valued at $37,800 to South Korea in the first two months of 2014.
The DA chief also said he met with Korea Food Research Institute (KFRI) chief Inkwoo Choi to prepare a memorandum of agreement, which aims to improve the traceability and food safety management of Philippine produce.
“The MOA will focus on the adoption of an alert system and capacity building on risk assessment as part of the DA’s efforts to enhance local food safety standards and boost the attractiveness of Filipino agro-fishery exports in international markets,” Alcala said.
He added that a traceability system will allow the government and businesses to determine the source of a product or its ingredients affected by food safety issues, therefore minimizing disruptions to trade and any potential public health risks.