Phl food exporters urged to tap opportunities in US By Louella D. Desiderio (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 13, 2014 - 12:00am 13 49 googleplus0 0
MANILA, Philippines - Philippine businesses should tap food and beverage export opportunities in the US through active promotion efforts and more engagement with the government, a top diplomat said. Speaking at the joint membership meeting of the Makati Business Club (MBC) and Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia Jr. said while there has been growth in the entry of Philippine food and beverage products to the US market, there are still export opportunities yet to be tapped by the country’s exporters. He noted that food exports from neighbors in Southeast Asia, including fish sauce from Thailand and cat fish from Vietnam, are now on the shelves and freezers of mainstream US supermarkets. Such exports, he said, are prepared and labelled to attract US consumers, a larger market compared to the niche Filipino-American community. “The government cannot do it alone. We really need to see more engagement from the private sector to promote themselves and in so doing, promote the Philippines,” he said. At present, the Department of Agriculture is working to get wider access for the country’s mangoes to the US.
Aside from strengthening promotion efforts, Cuisia said the private sector will also need to work with government in preparing for the country’s possible entry to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. “I also ask you to be active in your engagement with the government, in particular, in giving information on the costs and benefits of the TPP to the private sector and recommendations on appropriate steps to take and prepare the country for a 21st century agreement,” he said. He noted that the embassy will continue to assist Manila in securing as much information as possible to help make a smart decision about joining the TPP as well as to prepare for an effective negotiation strategy, should that be the final decision. The TPP, which is being negotiated by the US and 11 other Pacific countries such as Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, seeks to set high standards covering intellectual property, labor rights and environmental protection, in line with the creation of a free trade bloc which would represent more than half of global output and over 40 percent of world trade. Philippine officials have started to exchange information and consult with American counterparts on the prospects of joining the TPP under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement mechanism in a meeting held in Washington last month. Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo said earlier it is in the interest of the Philippines to become a member of the TPP as the trade pact is an avenue to get access to markets, primarily the US. “It (TPP) is something we have to engage in. We have no choice because the US is our second largest trading partner and many of our neighbours will become members of TPP. If they have duty-free access, for example, in the US and we don’t, it will really handicap the Philippines and affect us in a significant way,” he said. US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg said earlier the American government welcomes the Philippines’ expression of interest to join the TPP as such will help further strengthen the two countries’ relationship. “TPP is a key avenue for positive change and economically freer Philippines is a stronger Philippines and a stronger Philippines will ensure security, stability and longevity and will enhance the overall strategic relationship between our two countries,” he said. http://www.philstar.com/business/2014/04/13/1311934/phl-food-exporters-urged-tapopportunities-us
Soybean production triples By Ma. Eloisa H. Aquino (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 13, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0
MANILA, Philippines - A record-breaking 5,280 hectares planted with soybean across all regions were noted last year, resulting in a three-fold increase in soybean production from 1,685 hectares in 2012. But more than these remarkable figures are the number of farming communities/peoples organizations that have adopted the technology. These findings highlighted the Annual Soybean Review and Planning Workshop wherein respective soybean focal persons presented their project results last Feb. 10 to 14 in Jaro, Iloilo City. Production areas abruptly increased due to active participation of the following organizations including the Golden Beans and Grains Producers Cooperative (GBGPC) and KDF in Pampanga; Kaharian Farms; and Mangyan (indigenous peoples from Oriental Mindoro in Roxas and Masalay). Soybean was also utilized during feeding programs in Palawan and for children with cerebral palsy in Region V. Regions also established strong collaboration with their local government units and other government agencies in the implementation of their projects and activities. Dr. Corazon Arroyo, manager of the Western Visayas Integrated Agricultural Research Center (WESVIARC), officially welcomed the participants.
Rosemary Aquino, chairperson of the Soybean Technical Working Group (TWG), provided the updates on the Philippine Soybean Development Program. “There has been an increase in the farming community and the consuming public, including school children (in soybeans). This is because of the growing interest and enthusiasm of the local food and feed entrepreneurs,” Aquino said. She cited Regions 3 and 5 as among those that doubled their production targets. Sixty participants attended the five-day activity including soybean focal persons from the regions and concerned bureaus of the Department of Agriculture (DA), and Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) technical staff. Focal persons presented the results of the technology demonstration trials, particularly the yield and income derived from the sites. After discussing the interventions applied in their region, presenters laid down their plans for 2014-2015 such as establishment of additional sites for soybean production and utilization. Engr. Cristy dela Cruz from Region 2 showed the geotagging technology for soybean areas. Aquino, along with Virginia Agcopra, BAR technical adviser, and Elmer Enicola, vicechairperson of the Soybean TWG, gave their recommendations, particularly on the needs-based approach to be implemented in 2014 and developing areas and sustaining the production. Another suggestion was to identify a group of beneficiaries that would be visited for documentation highlighting their interventions. Since 2011, DA through BAR and the DA-High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP), has started crafting the Soybean R&D Roadmap. Initiatives were geared towards building a strong soybean production and processing industry in the country. Various attached agencies of DA and Regional Integrated Agricultural Research Centers (RIARCs) are implementing the soybean program. In addition, “The benefits of an integrated soybean production provides employment opportunities, improvement of health and nutrition of farm households, more stable prices and marketing for raw materials, and a more competitive crop growing or livestock raising at the rural level,” concluded Tong Abas of the ARMM Integrated Agricultural Research Center. http://www.philstar.com/agriculture/2014/04/13/1312197/soybean-production-triples
SM Foundation holds farmers’ training in Samar, Leyte (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 13, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0
SM Foundation’s Cristie Angeles speaks before farmer-participants at the launch of the farmers’ training program in Guiuan (left). Right photo shows the transplanting of seedlings in Tanauan. MANILA, Philippines - Calamity-stricken Guiuan, Eastern Samar and Tanauan, Leyte are the venues of Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan Farmers’ Training Programs launched recently by SM Foundation. SM Foundation’s 70th batch of the Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan – Farmers Training Program was launched last March 31 in Brgy. Cogon, Guiuan, Eastern Samar with 100 participants from Cogon, Timala, Mayana, Banaag, Banahao, Cantahay, Bagua, Lupok, Hagna, Tagporo, Surok, Cagusu-an, Alingarog and Camparang, as well as nearby municipalities of Mercedes and Salcedo. Guiuan was one of the municipalities in Region VIII badly affected by Typhoon Yolanda which destroyed the town’s main means of livelihood - farming & fishing. To help in their recovery program, SM Foundation brought the Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan – Farmers Training Program to Guiuan, a program done in partnership with Harbest Agribusiness Corporation, that would introduce advanced technology for the production of fruits, vegetables and high-value crops, as well as teach farmers entrepreneurial skills, making them self sufficient. The Department of Agriculture and Department of Social Welfare and Development, as well as the local government units were tapped to make the program successful and sustainable. In Tanauan, Leyte, farmers from Brgy.Pago , together with guest farmers from Barugo, Leyte started their 12-week-hands-on training on the cultivation of high value crops, fruits and vegetable farming.
The training would give the farmers opportunity for alternate livelihood inasmuch as coconut farms and rice paddies were completely devastated by the typhoon. Copra & palay (unhusked rice) are their main means of livelihood. Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 According to Cristie Angeles, SM AVP for livelihood, 127 farmers from 50 neighboring barangays in Tanauan, with 11 farmers from Barugo, Leyte attended the launching and the orientation program given by Harbest Agribusiness Corp., president Toto Barcelona. Started in 2007, Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan Farmersâ€™ Training Program is a dual technology training in high-value crops, vegetable and fruit farming intended to provide updated agricultural technology to participants thereby empowering them, not only to earn more income but also to be self-sufficient in food. Funding for the training is provided by SM Foundation. Harbest Agribusiness Corporation, a program partner ever since the training program was conceptualized, implemented the program in Bacolod City and provides the manpower and specialists who impart modern techniques in farming in the lecture sessions. They also provide the seedlings used in the actual training at the demo farm provided by the local government. Capacity building and entrepreneurial skills are also incorporated in the training. The program includes provision for market linkages in cooperation with SM Food Group and Supermalls, the Department of Agriculture, DSWD, LGUs and NGOs. Many of the farmers who finish the training program replicate what they learn in their own farm lots. To meet the increased demand for their produce, some farmers have formed cooperatives. Still others have ventured into agribusiness, becoming regular suppliers to supermarkets. http://www.philstar.com/agriculture/2014/04/13/1312198/sm-foundation-holds-farmers-trainingsamar-leyte
DA to boost cacao industry by Ellalyn De Vera April 12, 2014
The Department of Agriculture (DA) is bent on replicating technologies to boost the country’s cacao industry. DA Undersecretary for Special Concerns Bernadette Romulo-Puyat has visited cacao plantations and processing centers in Davao Region to observe and replicate technologies on cacao production in other parts of the country. Known for its global market potential, cacao has been identified as one of the priority commodities that will help boost the agriculture sector and increase the income of Rural Based Organizations (RBOs), particularly women’s organizations. “Gusto ko lang tingnan dito ang role ng kababaihan at pati din yung mga post-harvest facilities on cacao production na gender sensitive at madali para sa mga babae dahil gusto nating bigyan ng kabuhayan ang ating mga kababaihan [I would like to look into the role of women in the cacao industry and also to check on facilities used in cacao production that are gender-sensitive that will be useful to women because we want to give them livelihood],” Puyat said. Accompanying her are officers of the Rural Improvement Club (RIC) from Region 12 and Agusan del Sur Rep. Ma. Valentina Plaza. Under the law, five percent of DA’s regional budget will be allotted to empower women. Puyat particularly visited the Mars Cocoa Development Center (MCDC), Cocoa Philippines, and Shawn Askinosie located around Calinan, Baguio district. In those areas, Puyat acknowledged how women in these areas participated in cacao production from planting to post-harvesting. She said increasing production areas for cacao plantation is one of the priorities of the department. She noted that DA will support farmers by providing them with quality planting materials. http://www.mb.com.ph/da-to-boost-cacao-industry/
Conserve water – DENR (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 13, 2014 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - With the onslaught of hot summer weather, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is urging the public to be particularly mindful of their water consumption not only to save money on water bills, but more importantly, to protect this precious resource. DENR Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje said that although water service providers have already assured that there would be a steady and ample supply of water during the dry months, usually from March to May, “it would still be advisable for us to use our water supply prudently.” “We have to consider that water is not only for domestic or household use,” Paje pointed out. “We have to share our supply with the agricultural sector to irrigate our farmlands, which are vulnerable during the dry season; and with the power sector to generate electricity that is more in demand now for cooling purposes.” The environment chief said that while it is true that with the sweltering summer heat comes added pressure on water consumption, it would help if everyone watches on a daily basis and limits their water usage as much as possible. He advised people to apply to water usage the same principles used in solid waste management. “Reduce water wastage by using only the amount you need. Reuse what you can for other purposes such as using laundry water to clean your cars or floors or in flushing toilets,” Paje said. He added: “Make water conservation a habit, no matter what the season, and adopt a lifestyle that would have less negative impact on our precious water supply.” Paje also called on the public to avoid throwing their trash everywhere as it could end up clogging waterways and contaminating the water supply. He warned that since very little rainfall is expected during summer, waterways could end up clogged or stagnant and become breeding grounds for disease-carrying insects, as well as cause flooding in the ensuing rainy season. The DENR head likewise appealed to visitors of ecotourism sites to respect nature by keeping it all in a natural and pristine state as possible. “With the Holy Week just around the corner, let us not only reflect on our purpose in life, but also on what we can proactively do for our Mother Earth especially in light of climate change,” Paje said. http://www.philstar.com/agriculture/2014/04/13/1312199/conserve-water-denr
Food sector braces for ASEAN common market (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 13, 2014 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - Companies in the Philippines are urged to start coming up with strategies on how to take advantage of the common Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) market as it moves towards economic integration by 2015. An offshoot of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) ratified by the country in 1994, the ASEAN Economic Community will present investment opportunities for Philippine firms both locally and region-wide. With this in mind, local companies should start formulating strategies to capitalize on the ASEAN common market and production base with the free movement of goods, services, labor and capital. For the food sector, the Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Organization (Philfoodex) Inc., will lead the way,through the Philippine Food Expo set on May 16-18 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. Now on its 12th edition, the expo will highlight the innovations and trends in the food industry that an economically-integrated Southeast Asian region will bring, and how local food players can take advantage of these changes to remain competitive. According to Philfoodex president Roberto Amores, the event will be a most ideal venue for sourcing and business matching for local and foreign food industry players since the country has many export-quality products still unknown to the world market. Regarded as the â€œOnly All-Filipino Food Showâ€? the Philippine Food Expo is a must-visit event for ordinary Filipino consumers, to international traders and importers of food products. The three-day exhibit will also feature a series of technical and business sessions, product demonstrations and special events.The Philippine Food Expo is organized by Philfoodex Inc., in cooperation with the Philippine Exporters Confederation (Philexport), the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI), the Bureau of Agricultural Research, Far Eastern University, and BCS Systems and Technologies. Media Partners are The Philippine STAR, The Foreign Post, Business Mirror and Cook Magazine. http://www.philstar.com/agriculture/2014/04/13/1312200/food-sector-braces-asean-commonmarket
Antipolo joins ‘Toka Toka’ environmental campaign (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 13, 2014 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 0 MANILA, Philippines - Following the recent partnership sealing of Manila Water with the municipalities of Rodriguez and Angono in Rizal Province for the Toka Toka environmental advocacy, another partnership was closed this time with the city government of Antipolo to reinforce efforts on used water management. Manila Water Corporate Strategic Affairs Group director Ferdinand Dela Cruz welcomed the partnership with Antipolo Mayor Casimiro “Jun” Ynares, saying that the company’s advocacy on used water management has gained greater traction in the province with the inclusion of Antipolo City in the roster of the east concessionaire’s Toka Toka partners. “Manila Water and Antipolo have always been great partners in ensuring that potable water from renewable surface source is available to the residents of this progressive mountain city. But today, we want to focus on joining forces with the government of Antipolo to manage its water resource through used water management, which is the essence of the ‘Toka Toka’ campaign,” said Dela Cruz during the ceremonial partnership sealing. Dela Cruz also underscored the importance of undertaking environmental initiatives as a critical factor in sustaining water resources for the next generation of Filipinos. “This project marks a new beginning for everyone to commit to environmental sustainability. We need to help one another in managing our water system, Dela Cruz said. For his part, Ynares expressed his appreciation in collaborating with Manila Water as the Ayalaled company continues to strive in ensuring that potable water would be available to the remaining 13 percent of the city, specifically in Brgy. Cabading and Sitio Umilang. Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 Both parties have agreed to further promote the environmental campaign through regular coordination meetings with the barangays in the city; the implementation of the monthly “Barangay Day” to enable marginalized households to have greater access to potable water supply; and the participation of various barangays in clean-up drive programs in the area. Now on its third year, “Toka Toka” was created with the goal of educating the general public on used-water management and its effects on rivers and waterways four simple acts that include proper disposal of garbage; desludging of septic tanks, connecting to Manila Water’s sewer network; and supporting the company’s community-based sanitation and used-water projects.
Manila Water is the private concessionaire of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System that provides water and used water services to more than 6.2 million residents of parts of Quezon City and Manila, Marikina, Pasig, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Pateros, Makati, Taguig and several towns in Rizal Province. http://www.philstar.com/agriculture/2014/04/13/1312201/antipolo-joins-toka-tokaenvironmental-campaign
Binay wants to make barangay execs, workers regular gov’t employees By Jose Rodel Clapano (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 13, 2014 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Vice President Jejomar Binay asked his daughter Sen. Nancy Binay to file a bill in the Senate seeking to make barangay officials and workers regular government employees. He said the last Congress was not able to pass the proposed bill and he now hopes the measure will be revived in the present Congress. “Actually, it is a pending legislation, but it sleeps in Congress. I told Senator Nancy to revive it,” he said. The Vice President said it is high time to improve the standard of living of barangay officials, health workers, barangay watchmen, street sweepers and other barangay workers. He noted that at present, barangay officials and workers are only receiving incentives for their services. They are also not members of Pag-IBIG Fund, Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth). http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2014/04/13/1312029/binay‐wants‐make‐barangay‐execs‐workers‐ regular‐govt‐employees
P43 B spent to upgrade gov’t hospitals – DOH By Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 13, 2014 - 12:00am
ROMBLON, Philippines – Since 2010, the Department of Health (DOH) has spent more than P43 billion to rehabilitate and equip government health facilities across the country, although majority of them are under the management of local government units (LGUs). DOH Secretary Enrique Ona said the agency has already infused some P43 billion through its Health Facility Enhancement Program (HFEP) to make sure that adequate health services are within the reach of poor Filipinos. Ona said most health facilities are no longer under the jurisdiction of the DOH, but of LGUs because of devolution. The DOH, however, still deemed it necessary to step in and help upgrade them. He said most of these facilities were not responsive to the health needs of the Filipinos, citing a 2010 study of the National Economic and Development Authority that showed 30 percent of Filipinos die without seeing a doctor.
“Our strategies are three-pronged as far as diseases are concerned. They are inter-related so they should all be pursued to achieve our goals,” he said. The first approach, Ona said, is primary prevention which includes vaccination and health education. Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 “It is also in primary prevention where we want to discover who have diabetes, hypertension, coronary problem, high cholesterol and others.” Secondary prevention covers early diagnosis, requiring the presence of laboratory, X-ray, ultrasound, mammogram, colonoscopy, ultrasound and other diagnostic equipment. The third approach is early treatment or early curative, which may require adequate and quality equipment in the health facilities. “Through all those years, the DOH was giving attention to primary prevention. It has neglected the secondary prevention and early curative. Hospitals were forgotten, there was inadequacy in equipment and doctors were lacking,” Ona said. The DOH chief said through HFEP, the agency was hopeful that most hospitals in the country would be able to provide quality care to patients. Under HFEP, the DOH provides funding assistance for infrastructure and procurement of equipment to government health facilities. Maximo Adan Jr., chief of the Infrastructure and Equipment Division at the DOH’s National Center for Health Facility Development, said the agency does not look at “political color” when choosing a beneficiary. http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2014/04/13/1312025/p43‐b‐spent‐upgrade‐govt‐hospitals‐doh