Saudi Arabia eyes agricultural trade with RP

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 25 2009 10:05 AM | Updated as of Feb 25 2009 09:00 PM

Saudi Arabia is eyeing investments in the country's farm and fisheries sectors, the Department of Agriculture said Monday.

In a statement, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said the country--which is populated by 26 million people--is particularly interested in basmati rice, corn, cassava, sugar, animal fodder, fisheries, red meat, and fruits.

Given this, officials from the DA are now preparing investment proposals for a high-level business delegation from Saudi Arabia scheduled to arrive the country in April.

Agriculture Undersecretary for Special Concerns Berna Romulo Puyat and Marriz Agbon, the president of the Philippine Agriculture Development and Commercial Corp. (PADCC), will lead the team tasked to craft the investment proposals.

"In Saudi Arabia alone, we're looking at a million of our compatriots who are there, what if a million of them demanded to just have one mango a week, that's a million mangoes a week. All of them would demand to have one banana a week, that's a million of Philippine bananas a week being moved to Saudi Arabia," Yap said.

During President Arroyo's recent visit to the Gulf Cooperation Council states, Yap said royal orders were issued in Saudi Arabia requiring the formation of a ministerial team to implement the King Abdulla Initiative for Saudi agricultural investment abroad.

The initiative, Yap said, aims to build partnerships with agricultural countries such as the Philippines.

Earlier, a joint committee was formed by the Philippines and Bahrain to oversee the smooth and effective implementation of an accord intended to establish a general framework for cooperation in the fields of agriculture and fisheries between the two countries.

The memorandum of understanding on agro-fisheries cooperation between Manila and Manama was amont the agreements signed between the two governments during President's Arroyo's visit to Bahrain last month.