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Bolstering international ties to achieve food security

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During his first week as the newly-appointed Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary, Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. underscored the relevance of intensifying efforts within the local agriculture industry to increase food production and become food secure.

He also called upon stakeholders to join him and work together to achieve the positive goals the DA set out to meet.

Ireland’s Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for Research & Development, Farm Safety, and New Market Development, Martin Heydon, shares similar sentiments on how forging ties with other industry players can bring positive results, which he shared during a media roundtable for the Irish Food Board’s fifth trade mission in Southeast Asia.

“You don’t need to produce the food yourself, but you do need to have trusted partners. You need trading partners,” Heydon told Manila Standard Agriculture.

His timely remark is also apt for the 2023 Southeast Asia trade mission by the Irish Food Board, or Bord Bia, launched last Nov. 9, which seeks to strengthen Ireland’s reputation for providing safe, sustainable, and top-quality food products in Malaysia and the Philippines since Ireland exports 90 percent of its food products.

The European country’s agricultural success comes from its temperate location, which provides extended grazing periods for cattle, allowing farmers to produce high-quality grass-fed beef and dairy products.

Since Nov. 7, Heydon has met with stakeholders in the local meat and dairy industry and officials from government agencies.

In the meantime, Heydon hasn’t had the opportunity to meet with Laurel due to their tight schedules. He understands their position is considerably relevant to their respective countries as he believes it’s an honor to be in a position to share insights and create meaningful connections with other communities.

Heydon is confident that this year’s trade mission will raise awareness of Ireland’s sustainable food production systems and build strong government connections with Philippine counterparts.


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