President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. has secured business agreements with China for lower fertilizer prices, a vital part of his administration's bid to help farmers and ensure food security.
A news release on Saturday from the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) indicated that the fertilizer deals were secured during a roundtable discussion in Beijing with chief executive officers from China's agribusiness sector.
President Marcos has expressed appreciation to two Chinese fertilizer manufacturing companies that have signed a cooperation agreement with the Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC) to ensure sustainable supply of the much-needed fertilizers at reasonable prices, the PCO added.
"We look forward to a steady supply of fertilizer inputs needed by our farmers through these agreements," President Marcos was quoted in the release as saying.
Moreover, the President pointed out that the cost of agricultural inputs, especially fertilizers, has “become prohibitive and unaffordable for our local farmers."
"Providing sustainable and affordable supply of inputs such as fertilizers and seedlings has become more difficult, given global economic challenges, as we have all seen in the supply chain problems that we have encountered," the President added.
On the other hand, the Philippines has also secured $2.09-billion purchase intentions for Philippine fruits such as durian, coconut, and bananas, among others.
In the meeting, the chief executive emphasized that the Philippine economic fundamentals "remain strong and have been steadily improving."
"I assure you that the Philippine government is committed to support your business activities in the country. The Philippine economic management team, including the Department of Agriculture (DA), will serve as your focal points of contact for any concerns regarding doing business and expanding your commercial footprint in the Philippines," President Marcos told Chinese business leaders.
He also invited them to look at the Philippines equally "as a valuable contributor to their global businesses and as a partner in rebuilding the economies of both our countries."
"Our partnership is critical in adapting and recovering from the pandemic. So together, I think that we can build a more resilient and sustainable economy," said the President.
For his part, Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual, who joined the President in the roundtable discussion, invited business leaders to "firm up your interest to make an investment destination in the Philippines for plantation development and building of processing facilities."
In his remarks, he cited the expansion of the country's market reach as well as its participation in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Trade in Goods Agreement or ATIGA, the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area, and other agreements of ASEAN.
"The Philippines is a highly promising production base for agribusiness, a source also of products for export to China… Let us make more agribusiness investments happen in the Philippines," the trade chief pointed out. —LBG, GMA Integrated News