Hjayceelyn M Quintana and Noora Karam after signing the at the MoU in Dubai.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
The Philippines and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have entered into a bilateral agreement that shall help heighten the food security of both countries, through joint activities, in the area of agricultural innovation.
Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Hjayceelyn M Quintana and the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MCCE) Undersecretary Noora Karam signed the “Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Agricultural Cooperation” on Monday morning at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment headquarters in Dubai.
With the ambassador were Philippine Embassy-Abu Dhabi Consul General Marford Angeles and Agriculture Attache Nolet Fulgencio.
With the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), directions for co-operation has been set towards soil science and management, biotechnology, post-harvest, agriculture research & development, agricultural innovation, protected agriculture technology, irrigation and water resources.
Based on the “Overview of the Philippines-United Arab Emirates Bilateral Relations” page of the diplomatic mission website, the Memorandum of Understanding is historic.””It is the 12th as among the first 11 signed, was the “Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital,” signed on Sept.21, 2003 in Dubai and entered into force, after the Sept.15, 2008 concurrence by the Philippine Senate, on Oct.2, 2008.
The newest MoU is significant since President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who would take his oath of office on June 30 (Thursday), shall take the reins of the Department of Agriculture.
Marcos Jr. was quoted as saying on June 20, after announcing his decision: “As for agriculture, I think the problem is severe enough that I have decided to take on the portfolio of Secretary of Agriculture, at least for now.”
He also said that at least until we can re-organise the Department of Agriculture in the way that will make it ready for the next years to come.
“We are going back to the basics and trying and we will rebuild the value chain of agriculture.”
He added: “It is important that the president takes the portfolio so that not only to make it clear to everyone what a high priority we put on the agricultural sector.”Quintana said on Monday: “As we grapple with the effects of climate change and international conflicts on our food security, this Memorandum of Understanding on Agriculture puts the Philippines-UAE engagement in this area of cooperation at a higher level.”
Quintana added: “The Philippines, being one of the countries most affected by climate change, views the signing of this MoU as timely and relevant.”
The UAE was the largest Middle East market for Philippine agricultural exports in 2021 at almost $94 million (Dhs345,263,410.00/Php5,150,410,000.00).