Department of Agriculture (DA) Senior Undersecretary Domingo F. Panganiban met with the Italian Minister of Agriculture, Food Sovereignty and Forestry Francesco Lollobrigida, after the presentation of the Institute of Services for the Agricultural and Food Market (ISMEA) report on Italian Agri-food sector at Palazzo Merulana on 17 October 2023, while he was in Rome for the World Food Forum Flagship Event at the Food and Agriculture Organization. 

During the meeting, the Sr. Usec. Panganiban acknowledged the strong bilateral trade relations in agriculture between the Philippines and Italy.

Total agri-food trade between the Philippines and Italy amounted to some USD 272 million in 2022, up by 50% from the total value of agri-food bilateral trade in the COVID-19 year of 2020 and higher by 10% from the bilateral agri-food trade value in 2021.

The Philippines’ top agri-food export products to Italy in 2022 were crude coconut oil, tunas, mucilages, and thickeners derived from vegetable products, pineapples in airtight containers, and banana chips. 

Meanwhile, top Italian agricultural export products to the Philippines in 2022 were flour, meals, pellets of meat or meat offal, greaves,  dog or cat food, sweet biscuits, waffles and wafers, tomatoes, and dried egg powder.

Sr. Usec. Panganiban mentioned the visit of an Italian Trade Mission to the Philippines last March 2023, where they discussed ways to further strengthen trade relations between the Philippines and Italy.

The Mission was participated in by 5 Italian enterprises with expertise in aqueducts, hydraulic engineering, water cycle management, irrigation systems, and water treatment facilities.

He also updated the Italian Agriculture Minister Lollobrigida on the preparations being done to foster bilateral technical cooperation in agriculture, particularly in agricultural mechanization. 

The Italian agriculture machinery industries have played a crucial role in modernizing Italian agriculture, achieving high levels of agricultural productivity. In the Philippines, there is significant potential for agricultural mechanization to support agro-industrialization in the country. Hence, bilateral cooperation in this area can benefit both stakeholders.

Sr. Usec. Panganiban also extended an invitation for Italian private businesses to invest in the Philippines through modernizing agricultural facilities.

Examples of Philippine interests are in smart agriculture technologies, scaled-up mechanization, commercial scale-oriented technologies, smart irrigation, and water impounding or retention systems.

The Philippines is also interested in collaborating with Italy on mainstreaming climate resiliency in agriculture. This would involve deploying sustainable, climate- and disaster-resilient technologies and adopting climate information services.

Italian Agriculture Minister welcomed the updates and expressed that he looks forward to further strengthening agricultural relations with the Philippines. ###