Leaders strengthen food security and agricultural cooperation.

Following developments on the presidential visit to Myanmar, the recent meeting (20 March) among Myanmar President U Htin Kyaw, State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President Rodrigo Duterte resulted to a substantial discussion on concrete ways to strengthen bilateral economic relations between the two countries, specifically on areas of trade and investment, agro-industry, food security and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

“The meeting between President Duterte and Myanmar’s top leaders touched on mutually-beneficial strategies to increase trade and investment, to develop MSMEs and to provide agri-technical assistance,” said Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez, who was part of the Philippine delegation, alongside Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, Acting Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Vicente Sotto III and other Philippine government officials.

Both countries expressed interest in furthering agricultural technology, which includes capacity-building measures, education cooperation and exchange of best practices through agricultural specialists and experts. Specifically, the meeting explored approaches to advance efficient production of hybrid rice and piña fiber clothing.

“By and large, there was heightened interest to increase investment in Philippine agriculture and food processing. All these initiatives will be under a Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation,” Sec. Lopez added.

Meanwhile, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on food security and agricultural cooperation between the Philippines and Myanmar was signed between the Philippines and Myanmar.

Said MOU aims at making food accessible and affordable, including through promotion of joint development ventures, conduct of research and development (R&D) transfer or technology transfer, sourcing of raw materials for value adding and conduct of training and capacity-building both in technological and managerial levels.

The MOU likewise indicates that Myanmar is welcome to study Philippine agriculture, according to the trade chief.

“Of course, as chair of ASEAN, the Philippines consistently sought Myanmar’s support for the region’s deliverables this year, touching on increasing trade and investment, integrating MSMEs into the global value chain and promoting an innovation-driven economy,” he concluded.