Press Release
October 11, 2016

Villar tells DA to promote Filipino products in international trade fairs

Sen. Cynthia Villar urged the Department of Agriculture (DA) to take advantage of international exhibitions to promote Filipino products in foreign markets.

Villar, who presided over the the Finance Sub-Committee E deliberation on the proposed P50.5-billion budget of DA for 2017, lamented that in her numerous visits to trade fairs abroad, it can be observed that Philippine participation needs to be improved.

"We have so many products to offer the world, it is not right to appear inferior next to our neighboring countries. Trade fairs present the opportunity to market the produce of our farmers and raise global awareness on our country's world-class products and services," Villar said.

Last month, Villar led the Philippine delegation to China's second largest international trade event, the China-ASEAN Expo (CAExpo) in Nanning, Guangxi Province. The Philippine CAExpo contingent involved 28 companies, compared to about 200 firms for Vietnam.

"Sana pagtulungan ninyo ng Department of Trade and Industry na malakihan ang budget para sa participation natin in many international food expos. Palagi na lang tayo ang pinakakawawa," Villar said.

DA Sec. Emmanuel Piñol told the Senate hearing that one of the department's key strategies is to support a more aggressive marketing campaign especially for high-value crops in foreign markets.

"This is another bane of the Filipino farmers and fisherfolk, we always ask them to produce but we leave them to fend for themselves when the marketing of goods comes," Piñol said.

In agreement with Villar's proposal, Piñol said DA will be participating in a trade fair in Southern California in November to promote the Cordillera farmers' heirloom rice, coco chips and other organic and high-value crops.

For her part, Sen. Loren Legarda, Committee on Finance chairperson, said she supports both regional and international fairs for farmers, both in the DA and other agencies of government.

"I support what Senator Villar mentioned, ilagay po ninyo sa inyong budget. Kung wala sa National Expenditure Program of 2017, i-amendment natin lahat ng mga food fair. Let's make it accessible to our farmers' groups," Legarda said.

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