Philippine Ambassador to India Ramon Bagatsing Jr. called for a cooperation agreement with India on fisheries and marine development in creating a more sustainable and diversified food security plan for both countries.
“We'll work on a cooperation agreement with India on fisheries. Let's work on exporting between our two countries fish meal and fish oil. Let's exchange expertise, information technology and investment in aquaculture,” Bagatsing said in a virtual forum.
“This is very important because India is, I would like to say, ahead in terms of the digital technology. We can share abilities on the cultivation of fish, or other marine life such as commercially important species like tuna,” he said.
He said tuna fisheries is an area of interest for India as 90 percent of India’s fisheries haul comes from small scale fisheries, and only 2 percent from the industrial commercial sector.
Bagatsing said the Philippine commercial fisheries sector is probably a bit more developed, both in fleets and canneries, “and this is something that the Philippines can work with their counterparts.”
The Philippines already called for the creation of a technical working group for the cooperation agreement, on top of ongoing agreements and working relationships on plants and animals, he said.
He said the Philippines got confirmation that the Indian Agriculture Ministry would work on the Philippine request soon on a government-to-government level.
“We hope this could be initiated into an agricultural or fisheries technical group and thereafter, a draft of terms of reference for formal negotiations. In prefer that this will be done under agriculture or fisheries sector and not under the wider umbrella of the preferential trade agreement,” he said.
The Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Foods Inc. said it is willing to cooperate with India on different agricultural collaboration.