Singapore looking at Mindanao for food

AS IT diversifies its food source, Singapore is looking at Mindanao as a source for its agriculture imports.

Zhou Suli, charge d'affaires of the Embassy of Singaore in the Philippines, said due to the limited land area of Singapore for any agricultural activity, the city state exports 90 percent of its food.

"Because we import 90 percent of our food, we need to ensure adequate food security. One of the key startegies that we employed is to diversify our food sources," Suli said during the Export and Trade Opportunities with Singapore Forum at the Seda Abreeza Hotel, Davao City Wednesday, February 27. The forum is also part of the general membership meeting of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (DCCCII).

She said at present, Singapore imports food from 160 countries that are as far as those in Latin America and Africa.

"Currently Singapore imports a small number of food products from the Philippines, most of these are fruits like bananas, pineapples, papayas, and mangoes. We are keen to import more," Suli said.

Singapore and the Philippines have began talks to improve the agricultural trade between the two. Suli said they have met with Department of Agriculture (DA) secretary Manny Piñol to discuss potential products that can be exported by the Philippines to Singapore. These products include eggs, poultry, pork, vegetables, shrimps, and rice.

She said two teams from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) of Singapore, which is responsible for the city state's food safety and security, visited the country earlier this month to inspect farms in the country.

Facilitated by DA's Bureau of Animal Industry, one team visted farms in Luzon and another in Mindanao.

"Their main objective was to accredit farms who can export eggs, poultry, and pork to Singapore," Suli said.

She said these inspections are necessary because of the stringent measures that ensures that meat and poultry products that enter Singapore meet international standards.

Suli said Singapore is also keen on importing vegetables from Mindanao, considering that it is also quite near. She said shipping time between the two countries is seven days.

Despite the shorter distance, Suli pointed out that it will still be a logistical challenge on how to ensure that the vegetables that arrive Singapore remain fresh.

"We are working with DA to identify suitable vegetable farms that could export to Singapore; taking into account price competitiveness and challenge to keep them fresh by the time the products arrive in Singapore," Suli said.


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