MANILA -- France and the Philippines will collaborate on improving respective food production and its resilience to climate change.

Among the collaboration's activities will be research as well as sharing of latest information and best practices for achieving such goal, noted Department of Agriculture (DA) Undersecretary Ariel Cayanan.

"We aim at helping each other deal with climate change," he said Tuesday on the side of the Philippines-France Forum on Agriculture held at AG New World Manila Bay Hotel.

Such collaboration is the first of its kind between DA and the French government, he noted.

The forum was among activities celebrating the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and France.

Cayanan presented DA's key food policy initiatives amidst the climate change threat. 

Such policies are using appropriate farm technologies to realize rice self-sufficiency and competitiveness, developing the corn industry and diversifying into commodities with high market potential and value-adding, he said.

The policies also cover developing a national livestock, dairy and poultry program, undertaking sustainable fisheries production and management as well as implementing food safety measures, he continued.

He added that DA targets increasing farmers' and fisherfolk's access to financing aside from intensifying research and development activities.

"DA's policy on food and climate change is anchored on the administration's commitment to provide available and affordable food," he said.

France's Ministry for Agriculture and Food also presented during the forum the French government's key principles for agro-ecology.

Agro-ecology is an approach that applies ecological concepts and principles to the design, development and management of sustainable agricultural systems.

The French government's key agro-ecology principles include enhancing biodiversity, biological regulations, farms' economic performance and autonomy as well as conserving and improving natural resources, said the ministry's Director for International Affairs Heloise Pestel.

"We introduced agro-ecology to better face climate change and other challenges confronting France's agriculture," she said at the forum.

Cayanan said collaboration between the Philippines and France will enable each of these countries to better look into, and possibly adapt, existing initiatives aligned with the key policies and principles presented during the forum. 

He added in the future, both countries can further enhance the collaboration by identifying new measures for even better boosting food production despite climate change's threats (PNA)