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PIA Press Release

KSA's high level business mission to RP seen to boost agri sector

by T. Villavert

Iloilo City (6 February) -- The Saudi Arabia's high level business mission to the Philippines to look for investment opportunities in the agriculture sector, will help boost income and productivity of farmers especially in the countryside.

The Malacanang press report disclosed that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia told President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Tuesday that he is sending a high-level business mission to the Philippines in April.

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap explained that these investments in agricultural projects in foreign countries are aimed to meet Saudi Arabia's increasing demand for fruits, vegetables and livestock.

Yap, who, together with Labor Secretary Marianito Roque and Trade Secretary Peter Favila accompanied the President in her two-day working visit to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, said the business mission will be headed by Saudi Arabia's ministers of commerce and agriculture. He said the Saudi monarch has formed an inter-agency committee composed of the ministries of foreign affairs, agriculture, commerce and industry to come up with an investment program for agriculture in foreign countries, especially in the Philippines.

The Agriculture Secretary said said the Philippine government expects to finalize the proposed investment agreements when the Saudi ministers of agriculture and commerce arrive in the country this coming April.

Meanwhile, Western Visayas ranked second among the 16 palay producing regions for calendar year 2008, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA 6) press report. Region's production output was recorded at 2,117,598 metric tons, while Central Luzon topped the rice-producing regions with a production of 3,043,956 metric tons.

Director Larry Nacionales of DA 6 said that Region 6 contributed 12.52 percent to the national rice production and has raised the rice sufficiency level from 110 percent in 2007 to 116 percent in 2008, the DA 6 press report disclosed. (PIA 6) [top]

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