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Sunday, May 19, 2024

DA chief cites ‘23 BPI achievements to boost food supply, fruits exports

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Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel has cited efforts of the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) to help sustain food security and boost exports of high value agriculture crops that hit P5.16 billion in 2023.

Data from the BPI showed exports of high value fruits at 12,548.49 metric tons of mangoes worth 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 represented a 316 percent increase for avocado, 109 percent for mango, and a significant 4,000 percent for durian, compared to last year’s figures.

The BPI likewise helped open markets for durian exports to China, Hass avocados to South Korea and mangoes to Australia.

Laurel said the BPI was instrumental 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.

In 2023, the 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 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.

The BPI has issued  400,000 clearances for domestic transport to prevent the spread of pests in the country, as well as nearly 80,000 import clearances, with 84 percent being issued within 24 hours.

It has also released over 83,000 phytosanitary certificates compliant with the requirements of the Philippines’ international trading partners.

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

He urged the 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.

“For nearly a century, BPI has been at the forefront of agricultural innovation, stewardship, and progress in our nation,”  Laurel said, noting the milestones, advancements, and commitment the agency has shown towards the modernization of agricultural practices in the country.

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