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July 2024

Agriculture chief Laurel: Working draft on PH-Vietnam rice deal ‘almost done’


Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. said Tuesday that there is already a working draft for the rice trade agreement with Vietnam, which will help ensure the rice supply in the Philippines.

At a Palace press briefing, Laurel was asked for an update on the rice trade agreement between the Philippines and Vietnam. 

”From what I understand, there is no real agreement in that Indonesian meeting but there was… no agreement signed meaning… but there was an agreement to draft the MOA or MOU and we were given instructions, when we were in the ASEAN meeting in Japan, by the President to draft, finalize the MOA with Vietnam,” the Agriculture chief said.

”So that pagdating ng trip this coming end of January, state visit to Vietnam, mapirmahan na and we have the working draft na, almost done na (So it can be signed during the state visit to Vietnam this coming end of January. We have a working, it is almost done),” Laurel added, mentioning the President’s state visit to Vietnam by the end of the month. 

He said the deal would guarantee that Vietnam would supply rice to the Philippines even during times of calamities. 

During President Ferdinand ”Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s attendance in the ASEAN Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam agreed to finalize a rice trade agreement that will take effect for five years.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said that the two countries would conclude ”an inter-government agreement on rice trade so that our rice export to the Philippines will ensure food security in the Philippines.”

“We look forward to having a stable framework of cooperation on rice trade for a long period of at least five years,” Pham had said.

Meanwhile, Laurel said the rice production in the Philippines in 2023 was around 20 million tons, noting that it should be almost similar in 2024 due to El Niño.

Asked about the government’s aspiration to lower the price of rice to P20, the DA head said it remains to be the target of the administration.

”We will try our best. Mas maganda, may goal para everybody tries to achieve it as hard as possible,” Laurel said.During the 2022 presidential elections, one of Marcos’ campaign promise was to lower the price of rice to P20 a kilo.

Marcos said that bringing the price of rice to P20/kilo hinges on fixing the value chain, or the series of stages involved in producing a product or service that is sold to consumers, with each state adding to the value of the product or services.—AOL/RF, GMA Integrated News QR Code

Published Date: January 16, 2024

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