Stakeholders convene for upcoming APEC-PPFS meeting

The Department of Agriculture (DA), the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) spearheaded a Stakeholders’ Consultative Meeting on Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Policy Partnership on Food Security (PPFS) on February 20 at the National Irrigation Authority office in Quezon City.

This is in preparation for the APEC Food Security Week and Related Meetings which is among the high-level meetings of the 23rd APEC summit to be hosted later this year by the Philippines. A consultative meeting on PPFS is among the related activities that will be conducted, alongside a High Level Policy Dialogue on Food Security and the Blue Economy (HLPFSBE), High Level Policy Dialogue on Agricultural Biotechnology and Agricultural Technical Cooperation Working Group.

Around 200 members of the private sector, most of whom are part of the PCAF’s National Sectoral Committees (NSCs) were present at the said consultation. DA Undersecretary for Fisheries and BFAR Director Asis Perez briefly discussed the background of the APEC and the PPFS.

USec. Perez shared that the APEC-PPFS is a “unique and innovative forum” for stakeholders of food security from the public and private sectors, including business and farmers, institutes for research and development and international organizations.

“The PPFS is expected to play a major role to enhance food security of the APEC region since close collaboration among stakeholders is required to address various cross-cutting food security issues. The PPFS is tasked to primarily examine policy issues as they relate to food security, while remaining cognizant of the capacity-building work in APEC bodies,” said USec. Perez who also serves as the chairperson for the Sub-Committees on HLPFSBE, PPFS and Oceans and Fisheries Working Group that constitute the DA National Organizing Committee for the APEC Food Security Week and Related Meetings

In its inaugural meeting during the Food Security Week in 2012, the PPFS was tasked to formulate a road map which will serve as a basis for a business plan to accomplish the identified objectives and goals which is geared towards the attainment of a food system structure by 2020, sufficient to provide lasting food security to APEC members.

A forum was opened for the stakeholders to offer their insights and raise their concerns with regards food security. Among the issues raised are the huge loss and waste in the agri-fishery sector, tariff and non-tariff barriers, storage facilities, investment policy issues and harmonization of standards among APEC member countries, importation of mechanically deboned meat, and farmers’ access to credit.

They then sought for the conduct of a benchmark study on the policies, practices and subsidies offered by the other APEC member countries and a social and environmental benchmark to protect citizens and the environment.

Meanwhile, USec. Perez announced the five sub-sector groups that will be engaged in the APEC-PPFS meeting and they are Food Staples; Fruits and High Value Crops; Fisheries and Aquaculture; Poultry and Livestock and; Processing and Manufacturing. The PCAF will determine the representatives for each of the sub-sector and the BFAR will endorse the selection to the DA.

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