Author: DA-AFID | 15 February 2023
Senior Undersecretary Domingo F. Panganiban received the newly-appointed Country Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Mr. Lionel Henri Valentin Dabbadie, at the Department of Agriculture (DA) on February 13, 2023. The new FAO Philippines Head assumed his role on January 31, 2023.
The current status of Philippine agriculture and potential areas for agricultural collaboration became the focus of discussion between the DA Undersecretary and FAO Country Representative. Among the issues discussed were major concerns on transboundary animal diseases affecting the country’s livestock and poultry industries, intensification of the production and supply of rice and corn, production and mobilization of food through the DA – Bureau of Plant Industry and the KADIWA ni Ani at Kita Program, and programs to stabilize the prices of agricultural commodities.
The Senior Undersecretary thanked FAO for its ongoing assistance to developing countries in facilitating the development and promoting sustainability to make food security possible and for its constant coordination with the DA on areas of cooperation and plausible projects for a resilient, inclusive, and food-secured Philippine agricultural sector.
The DA also acknowledged Mr. Dabbadies’ assistance during his term as the Bureau of Fisheries And Aquatic Resources (BFAR) advisor from 2005-2010. His primary contributions were the compliance advisory of the Fish Health Unit with the European Food Law and successful grant submission for a multidisciplinary research project on the Impact of the European Union regulations on the Philippine aquaculture production chain. Because of his efforts in leading the development of a program to establish guidelines for sustainable aquaculture, Mr. Dabbadie received the Special Distinction Award from BFAR.
Recognizing the importance of fisheries and aquaculture in the country, Undersecretary Panganiban welcomed the expertise and support of Mr. Dabbadie in these fields and urged the new FAO Philippines Head to work closely with the DA on policy and technical support through the updated Philippine Country Programming Framework (CPF) 2018-2024, especially in the areas of rice, corn, livestock, poultry, fisheries, aquaculture, and agro-industrialization. These areas of concern are in line with the instructions from the President, as concurrent DA Chief, to boost productivity and ensure food security.
Conversely, Mr. Dabbadie committed to supporting the Department in the areas raised by Undersecretary Panganiban. Mr. Lionel encouraged the participation of DA in several FAO events, namely: the 2023 Stocktaking Moment on July 24-26, 2023; the International Day of Millet, which will be celebrated in the U.N. General Assembly; The Hand-in-Hand Investment Forum on October 18-19, 2023; and, the 2024 Asia-Pacific Regional Conference. Mr. Dabbadie also expressed support for the Philippine rice sector through their possible involvement in the 2023 International Rice Congress.
The Philippines and FAO have a longstanding experience of collaboration. Since 1945, the Philippines has been a founding member of the organization and has made significant contributions to establishing its objectives. FAO established a national office in the Philippines in 1978 and has since provided training and support, technical assistance, and policy advice to the Philippine Government to strengthen the agriculture sector. ###