ISRAEL has vowed to boost its partnership with the Philippines in agriculture and water management, and tourism, the presidential palace said on Tuesday.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen made the commitment during a meeting with President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. on Monday, the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said in a press release.

“I think that we can work together on the segment of agriculture. I just let you know that our land, 60% of our land is desert. But although 60% of our land is desert, we were able to provide all our water needs,” Mr. Cohen told the Philippine leader, based on the PCO release.

“And I think that we can work together and let’s say that less import, more export for the Philippines,” he added.

Aside from agriculture, Mr. Cohen said the Philippines and Israel can also collaborate on water management, noting Israel’s vast experience in the sector.

Israel has developed systems for reusing a large portion of its water resources to address scarcity.

Mr. Cohen said an Israeli expert can visit the Philippines to provide advice.

For his part, Mr. Marcos touted that his administration prioritizes the agriculture sector in boosting the economy.

“The offers that you make for assistance and partnership in those two areas are very, very welcome,” he said.

In addition to agriculture and water management, Mr. Cohen proposed the creation of more direct flights between the Philippines and Israel to boost tourism ties.

Mr. Cohen said he and his Philippine counterpart had agreed that they “will work together to have the direct flights.”

He said the move would allow more Israeli businessmen to visit the Philippines and invest in the Southeast Asian nation.

“So this is also another important action item that we will do.” — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza