The Philippines holds significant potential for U.S. agriculture trade. As the second most populous country in Southeast Asia, its population is expected to top 115 million by 2025. Since MY 2016/17, it has also been the leading market for U.S. soybean meal exports, a stat not lost during USSEC’s recent trade mission to the island country from July 18 -20.
“At USSEC, we focus our energies on the animal protein and soy foods industries within the Philippines and have been working closely with them since 1996,” said Doug Winter, USSEC Chair and USB Director. “Trade missions like this particular Philippines Trade Mission, through USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and the soy checkoff, provide us an opportunity to be on-site in country and know where their priorities lie and talk specifically about key topics like U.S. soybean meal.”
Currently, the Philippines is facing a number of challenges in the livestock and aquaculture sectors, but their consumers still prefer fresh pork and chicken over frozen meat.
“Repopulating swine production is a priority for the government after African Swine Fever impacted key swine producing regions,” added Winter. “We are fortunate that our U.S. soybean meal is the preferred choice of the animal industry and they put emphasis on sustainability and our Sustainable U.S. Soy Assurance Protocol.”
While in the Philippines, the USSEC team conducted webinars on aquaculture management and nutrition in conjunction with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. The discussions highlighted the In Pond Raceway System, which has been adopted by a large Mindanao aquaculture farm to increase tilapia production sustainably.
USSEC CEO Jim Sutter, Regional Director Timothy Loh, Country Representative Dr. Benito Oliveros and Winter were part of a larger U.S. agriculture mission led by Foreign Agricultural Service Administrator Daniel Whitley. The group included representatives from 29 U.S. agribusinesses and farm organizations, as well as 10 state departments of agriculture.
“Our work continues to promote two-way cooperation, engage in conversations, and build trade opportunities with our partners in the Philippines,” said Winter.
This article was partially funded by U.S. Soy farmers, their checkoff and the soy value chain.