MANILA -- Two technical teams from Singapore's Agriculture and Veterinary Agency (AVA) are in town for a 10-day on-site inspection of local vegetable and fruit farms as well as hog, poultry and egg farms, as the Philippines prepares to export agricultural products to its rich ASEAN neighbor.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel "Manny" Piñol, at the sidelines of the Sugar Summit on Tuesday, said the Quarantine and Inspection Group from AVA headed by Dr. Chua Tze Hoong, Group Director, and Dr. Neo He Sheng, senior veterinarian of the Laboratories Group, called on him this morning prior to their second day inspection of the production facilities.

He explained the inspection of the Philippine farms is the first step in the planned importation by Singapore of several agricultural commodities from the Philippines, such as high value vegetables and fruits; pork and processed pork products; dressed chicken and eggs; seafoods, including white shrimps.

Piñol explained that Singapore has started to look for other countries that can supply its 6-million citizens with agricultural products after Malaysia reduced their exports. Malaysia has been the traditional supplier of eggs and chickens for Singapore.

Among the facilities to be inspected are: Gemsun Marketing, an egg layer farm in Batangas; Novoagri, Inc., egg processing in Batangas; Pilmico Layer Farm in Tarlac; Robina Farm No. 23 in Naic, Cavite; Ana's Breeder Farms in Davao City; Matutum Meat Packing Corp. in Gen. Santos City; fruits and vegetable farms; Government Quarantine and Sanitary Facilities.

Piñol said the DA will hold a Philippine Agri-Aqua Food Show in Singapore in March to showcase the best products that the country can offer the huge market which is highly dependent on imported food.

In May, a Singapore delegation is also expected to visit the country to formalize the deal concerning their importation of Philippine agricultural products, he said. (PNA)