MANILA – The Department of Agriculture (DA) has invited Italian private businesses to invest in the Philippines through modernizing agricultural facilities.
In a statement Friday, DA Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban said among the country’s interests are in smart agriculture technologies, scaled-up mechanization, commercial scale-oriented technologies, smart irrigation, and water impounding or retention systems.
Panganiban said Manila is also interested in collaborating with Italy on mainstreaming climate resilience in agriculture, which would involve deploying sustainable, climate- and disaster-resilient technologies and adopting climate information services.
The DA official extended the invitation in his meeting with the Italian Minister of Agriculture, Food Sovereignty and Forestry Francesco Lollobrigida during the World Food Forum Flagship Event of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome which ran from Oct. 16 to 20.
During the meeting, Panganiban also acknowledged the strong bilateral trade relations in agriculture between the Philippines and Italy.
Total agri-food trade between the Philippines and Italy amounted to some USD272 million in 2022, up by 50 percent from the total value of agri-food bilateral trade in 2020, the height of the coronavirus pandemic, and higher by 10 percent from the bilateral agri-food trade value in 2021.
The Philippines’ top agri-food export products to Italy in 2022 were crude coconut oil, tunas, mucilages, and thickeners derived from vegetable products, pineapples in airtight containers and banana chips.
Meanwhile, top Italian agricultural export products to the Philippines in 2022 were flour, meals, pellets of meat or meat offal, greaves, dog or cat food, sweet biscuits, waffles and wafers, tomatoes and dried egg powder.
Likewise, Panganiban cited the visit of an Italian Trade Mission to the Philippines in March, where they discussed ways to further strengthen trade relations between the Philippines and Italy.
The mission is composed of five Italian enterprises with expertise in aqueducts, hydraulic engineering, water cycle management, irrigation systems and water treatment facilities.
He also updated the Italian Agriculture Minister on the preparations being done to foster bilateral technical cooperation in agriculture, particularly in agricultural mechanization. (PNA)