(UPDATE) PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is confident that the Philippines will become the world’s “prime center of agricultural resources” as his administration steps up efforts to develop the country’s agricultural industry.

In his speech at the 2022 Agrilink/Foodlink/Aqualink opening ceremonies at the World Trade Center in Pasay City, the President, who is also the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA), emphasized that “strengthening of the agricultural sector is the strengthening of survival, the strengthening of life.”

PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

He cited the need to continue to create more opportunities for farmers and fishers, which he described as “the foundation of strength and sustenance”.

“Thanks to them, we have food on our tables; thanks to them, we have the sustenance we need to continue our efforts for the good of our nation,” Marcos said.

The President said now is the time to re-chart the country’s agricultural industrialization course, saying “it is a good first step for all of us to re-introduce ourselves to each other and find the way forward with the new global economy”. “

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“As an agricultural country and an archipelago country, the food products of our farms and fisheries depend mainly on the dynamics of weather and seasons. On better days, our agriculture and fisheries sectors produce crops that help grow our economy and no less feed our people,” he said.

“But in the worst times, especially during droughts, storms and other disasters or calamities, we not only encounter insufficient supply and inflation, but also run the risk of insufficient food supply. It is therefore commendable that, in its previous iterations, this event has produced various recommended innovations and solutions that help make our agricultural sector more robust and resilient,” he said.

Marcos cited government initiatives aimed at improving the lot of agricultural workers, such as the expansion of irrigation infrastructure, financial assistance to rice farmers, the fuel rebate program and other rapid response measures.

He said he had decided to take on the portfolio of agriculture secretary, with the aim of ensuring the stability of food supply and prices in the country.

He reiterated his intention to pursue partnerships for the development of the agricultural sector, noting that having a “more resilient” and “more robust” agriculture is the key to economic prosperity.

“Now that we are beginning to see the shape of the new normal, I assure you that this administration is one with you in achieving our goals and targets for the agricultural sector. We will build back better, with the people who have been our foundation of strength and sustenance even [during] the most difficult times,” he said.

The President also congratulated the organizers and attendees of the 27th Agrilink/Foodlink/Aqualink Trade Shows, saying it is an honor to work with them to promote “holistic” approaches that will improve the agricultural industry.

The fair, organized by the Foundation for Resource Linkage and Development, is the country’s largest, most influential and internationally recognized trade exhibition on agriculture, food and aquaculture.

=Trade events like the fair help improve the agricultural value chain and contribute to the overall development of small and medium enterprises in the agribusiness sector through the creation of market opportunities, said the president.

More than 500 indoor businesses, retail booths and outdoor booths showcasing agri-food products, information, technology, market linkages, promotion, equipment and services participate in the exhibition to be held October 6-8.

The theme of this year’s event is “Inclusive Growth in the Agribusiness Chain: The Key to Stability”.

The Caraga region is in the spotlight, focusing on the roadmap to improve the competitiveness of its three high value-added crops – cocoa, coffee and abaca.