MANILA – Canada will become a "reliable partner" of the Philippines on agriculture and ensuring food security.

The commitment was made by Canadian Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau who visited Manila from Sept. 25 to 26 to increase trade and investment, and promote Canadian agri-food products and solutions.

“We are committed to elevate this relationship even further and to explore ways Canada can contribute to the Philippines’ agri-food sector by being a reliable partner on food security,” Bibeau said in a statement forwarded by the Canadian Embassy in Manila on Wednesday.

During her visit, Bibeau met with Department of Agriculture officials, local meat importers and agri-food importers in retail, flour milling, and wheat.

She also engaged civil society groups and other stakeholders from Philippine agriculture and agri-food industries and organizations.

She reiterated Canada’s commitment to advance agricultural trade and cooperation with, and expand market access in the Philippines.

Based on the latest Embassy data, the Philippines has become Canada’s second largest agri-food and seafood export market in Southeast Asia.

In 2021, Canada’s exports to the Philippines grew by over 64 percent to over CAD567 million from 2020.

Agri-food and seafood constituted to approximately 35 percent of Canada’s total exports to the Philippines, making the country Canada’s second largest export market for poultry, fifth for pork and eighth for beef.

Meanwhile, Philippine agri-food exports to Canada, which include coconuts, pineapples, dried mangoes, seafood such as tuna, and processed food have steadily increased even throughout the pandemic.

The Embassy added that it shares a number of priorities and interests with the Philippines as expressed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in recent statements including combatting climate change, food security and working to preserve fragile environments.

“Canada recognizes the impact of climate change on Philippine agriculture, food security and poverty reduction,” Bibeau said during her meeting with Agriculture Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban.

“We are committed to support interventions that promote increased agricultural growth while adopting climate-smart and gender-sensitive approaches,” she added.

The Minister also sent her sympathies to to the country following Super Typhoon Kardinh that swept through Central Luzon. (PNA)