Davao to play 'major role' in PHL-China agricultural cooperation
SHANGHAI — Davao City is now being eyed as one of the areas for agricultural development in the Philippines as the country is expected to have a more energized agricultural trade relations with China.
Chinese businessmen are upbeat about the spirit of goodwill between the Philippines and China emanating from the meeting of President Rodrigo Duterte and Xi Jinping in Beijing in October.
Chinese importers and exporters of fresh fruits from the Philipines recently met with Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte in Shanghai to discuss the role of the city in the promotions of agricultural cooperation.
Agriculture was one of the highlights during Duterte’s meeting with President Xi.
“Davao City will definitely play a major role in the agricultural cooperation between China and the Philippines,” said Vice Mayor Duterte, citing the city’s production of high-value crops like banana, pineapple and coconuts, among others.
“If we will be able to satisfy international standards and meet the production requirements, it will definitely be beneficial to our farmers and our city,” he said.
The vice mayor’s meeting was hosted by the preparatory committee of the 2016 China-Philippines Agricultural Forum happening in Shanghai in December.
Vice Mayor Duterte also earlier met with Shanghai Vice Mayor Chen Yin at the Shanghai City Hall.
Businessman Nelson Chua, chair of the Golden Mindanao Global Holding Company, noted that Davao is the best place for agricultural development because of its fertile soil, climate, and rich natural resources.
“Davao City has also diversified quality crops like bananas and pineapples,” he said.
Noel de Luna, the country’s agricultural counselor in Beijing, said the meeting was a great opportunity not only for Davao but also for Mindanao to be able to export more agricultural products to China.
“The Philippines is expected to send more agricultural products to China, and at the same time, China could help the Filipino agriculture sector through its technology,” said de Luna.
Liang Shumin, a professor at the Institute of Agricultural Economics and Development, said the Philippine’s agricultural sector can explore the possibility of sending China crops like durian, avocado, papaya, and mushroom.
Poultry, horticulture, and forest products are also in demand, according to Liang.
Another fruit importer, Ma Xiagu, noted that what is needed now is for the development of agricultural policies by the Chinese and Philippine governments to “further our cooperation.”
“The results of these meetings are very encouraging,” Ma said. “We certainly see an opportunity to enhance and expand our trade relations.”
Another businessman said the Philippine government must “fight back and reclaim the China market.”
The forum in December is intended to improve the strategic layout of agriculture, opening up agricultural imports and exports, and to optimize the importation and exportation of important agricultural products between China and the Philippines. CIO