Philippines eyes to increase farm exports to Canada

The Philippines is eyeing to double its farm exports to Canada in the medium term to narrow the country’s agricultural trade deficit with Ottawa.

In a news statement issued on Tuesday, Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said they intend to double the current $98.8 million worth of farm exports to Canada in the medium term due to growing demand in the North American country driven mainly by overseas Filipino workers.

The country’s top food exports to Canada are: coconut products ($23.8 million); pineapples, dried guavas, mangoes and mangosteen ($10.3 million) and bangus and tuna ($9.4 million), according to the Department of Agriculture (DA).

At present, Canada exports $192 million worth of food products to the Philippines, about double of what Manila is shipping to Ottawa.

The main agricultural exports of Canada to the Philippines include frozen swine meat and offals ($57.3 million), deboned meat, hams, and other meat products ($20 million), potatoes ($11.6 million) and pig fat ($6.7 million), according to the DA.

“We wish to improve our balance of trade with Canada in succeeding years by selling more Filipino products like coconut water, virgin coconut oil or VCO, pineapples, mangoes, and melons,” Dar said during a virtual call of new Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines Peter MacArthur on August 7, 2020.

Dar said demand for various Philippine food products in Canada is expected to grow due to the rising number of Filipinos residing in Canada. At present, there are about 1 million Filipinos residing and working in Canada, which represents 2.7 percent of that country’s 37.7 million population, according to the DA.

The DA said MacArthur vowed to assist the Philippines in establishing producers’ markets, improving food supply logistics, and implementing an agro-forestry program benefiting indigenous communities in the country.

“We are counting on staunch partners like Canada as the Duterte administration embarks on our Plant, Plant, Plant program to realize our vision of a food-secure and resilient Philippines with prosperous farmers and fisherfolk,” Dar said.

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