The Department of Agriculture on Wednesday cited the indispensable role of the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) in the bid of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. to boost food production and modernize the country’s agriculture sector.

At the celebration of BPI’s 94th anniversary, Agriculture Secretary Francisco P. Tiu Laurel, Jr. underscored the agency’s contributions in upgrading agricultural practices, including providing better seeds and planting materials, innovating farming technologies, controlling plant pests and using biological control agents,  promoting safe and sustainable crop production as well as licensing and accrediting private sector partners for development.

Last year alone, BPI provided more than 72 tons of vegetable seeds and legumes to hundreds of farmers as well as 82,471 pieces of planting materials to help increase food production and farm productivity. It also certified over 5.8 million bags of rice, corn and field legumes that helped increase farm yield by as much as 30 percent. The agency also issued biosafety permits to foster safe biotechnology practices in the country.

Over 400,000 clearances were issued by BPI for domestic transport to prevent the spread of pests in the country.

BPI also issued in 2023 nearly 80,000 import clearances, with 84 percent issued within 24 hours. It also issued over 83,000 phytosanitary certificates compliant with the requirements of the Philippines’ international trading partners. The bureau likewise helped open markets for durian exports to China, Hass avocados to South Korea and mangoes to Australia.

As a result, the Philippines last year managed to export 12,548.49 metric tons of mangoes and generated P2.9 billion; 3,045.6 metric tons of avocado valued at P377 million; and 4,731 tons of fresh durian worth P1.89 billion. The 2023 export figures showed a 316 percent increase for avocado, 109 percent for mango, and a significant 4000 percent for durian, respectively compared to last year.

“For nearly a century, BPI has been at the forefront of agricultural innovation, stewardship, and progress in our nation. We are here to celebrate not just the longevity of this institution but also the milestones, advancements, and commitment it has shown towards the modernization of agricultural practices in our country,” said Secretary Tiu Laurel.

He said BPI’s push for modernization of the Philippine plant industry is “in line with President Bongbong Marcos’ plans to elevate the condition of Filipino farmers and, ultimately, food sufficiency and security, through mechanization and modernization.”

Secretary Tiu Laurel urged BPI to continue with its “forward-thinking approach” that has been crucial in helping the country overcome challenges and in embracing opportunities for growth and development of the agriculture sector. ###