Press Release
July 7, 2016

Boost food competitiveness - Villar

Senator Cynthia A. Villar urged the government and all stakeholders in the food industry to boost its competitive edge to capture a sizeable portion of the huge market in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

She said AEC presents a big market for all the member-countries since ASEAN has a combined population of 617 million and an aggregate economic size (GDP) of US$2.5 trillion, growing at an average of 5.3 percent in recent years.

"We have a huge potential in the food sector. We just need to enhance our competitive advantages," said Villar, chair of the Senate Agriculture and Food committee.

"In my capacity as a legislator, I want to add to those impetuses that will create further growth and development in food and agriculture. And will make Filipino food entrepreneurs and companies globally competitive," also stressed Villar.

Villar said she pursued the passage of the 'Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Act of 2015 (Senate Bill 2831) because the global halal market is estimated to be worth $2.3-trillion.

Furthermore, she strongly believes that the Philippines is well-positioned to corner a big chunk of the market. With Mindanao as the gateway, she said law will create the Philippine Halal Accreditation and Regulatory Board.

Through legislations in the agriculture sector, the Nacionalista Party senator said she is continuing her overall goal of lifting Filipinos out of poverty, majority of which are in the agriculture sector.

She noted that poverty incidence among fishermen and farmers are higher than that of the entire population in the Philippines.

"So they really need our help and support," said Villar as she also underscored the need to set the highest standards of food safety in our country for health and economic reasons.

She said increasing the standards of our food products is also a great factor to make them competitive globally.

While we have Philippine Food Safety Law or Republic Act 10061 in place since 2013, still "we must remain vigilant against any threats to food safety," said the Nacionalista Party senator.

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