To further improve the cooperation on rice exchange, the Department of Agriculture (DA) signed an agreement with Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The DA said on Wednesday, Jan. 31, that Agriculture Secretary Francisco P. Tiu Laurel, Jr. met with Minister Nguyen Hong Dien of the Industry and Trade to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU).
The MOU allows Vietnam to deliver 1.5 million to two million metric tons (MT) of white rice to the Philippines annually.
According to the DA, this agreement is a promotion of sustainable rice trade cooperation that aligns with the interests of the Philippine and Vietnam exchange.
“While DA is focused on improving capacities for increased agricultural productivity, it is equally imperative to maintain a robust trade to help ensure food security, in particular, the supply of rice, especially in challenging times,” Tiu Laurel said.
The MOU was signed during President Marcos’ state visit to Hanoi, Vietnam from Jan. 29 to 30, and was also witnessed by Vietnam President Vo Van Thuong.
Other cooperation activities, like exchanging rice production studies and information, crop situation, importation, and exportation, will be done within five years of the Philippine-Vietnam deal.
“To further facilitate smooth trade and help ensure food security, the two ministries agreed to closely coordinate to address illegal rice trade and consult with each other in advance of any imposition of export measures that could hinder or delay exportations,” the DA said.
Rice imports have also been guaranteed to comply with the food safety and plant health requirements of the Philippines, as agreed upon by the agriculture sector and Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Vietnam is considered to be one of the most important agricultural trader of the Philippines, as the DA chief stated, “It is, in fact, our third largest trading partner in the ASEAN region in terms of overall value of agricultural trade. Around 80 percent of our rice imports are from Viet Nam, and the Philippine market accounts for over 40 percent of Viet Nam’s rice exports."
Tiu Laurel will also explore the existing bilateral relations in agriculture with Minister Le Minh Hoan to update the previous cooperation agreement made in 1999.
“The new memorandum of understanding will promote and intensify mutual support between the Philippines and Vietnam in areas covering high-value crops, livestock [like dairy], and aquaculture production and development; post-harvest facilities and food processing; digital and climate-smart agriculture; agri-fisheries mechanization; among others,” the DA added.
Tiu Laurel also shared that the bilateral meeting considers Vietnam as a key partner in transforming Philippine agriculture.
Meanwhile, the DA chief was also present during the agreement signing between three Philippine and eight Vietnamese businesses and enterprises related to rice supply and food value chains.