THE agricultural sector needs to reach a point where supply is reliable and consistent before it can service the export market, food and export industry officials said.
Roberto C. Amores, president of the Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Organization, Inc. (Philfoodex), said at the International Food Expo (IFEX) that achieving a surplus in produce is a prerequisite, not just by addressing the production side but also logistics.
“You’ve seen (Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F.) Piñol’s presentation, showing what can be done in order to improve our supply base directed towards self-sufficiency,” he said.
“Now the main concern the agribusiness section is looking at is supply. Supply needs to be available, consistent and competitive.”
The Department of Agriculture (DA) presented its 10-point agenda at during the opening of IFEX.
The “key strategies” include infrastructure such as ice plants to reduce the 40% loss in the marine catch and solar irrigation facilities to increasing easy-access credit while phasing out subsidies.
“You cannot do expansion of exports unless you are self-sufficient in your materials. After self-sufficiency, you should go moving forward to a surplus where you can really realize exports,” Mr. Amores said.
Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. President Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis, Jr. said the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has been continuously seeking new markets despite the supply problems.
“There are certain products in demand which we cannot supply,” he added.
Mr. Ortiz-Luis said that with the DA’s financing programs and the administration’s big infrastructure push, he expects agricultural exports to grow.
“Certain quarters (are slow) but we really hope that in the third and the fourth quarter, it will improve a little,” he added. — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato