GMA News | 02/24/2009
MANILA, Philippines -- Saudi Arabia, a country considered as recession-proof due to its oil-based economy, will establish agricultural trade with the Philippines.
An estimated $238.6 million will be alloted by the Saudis to set up cash crop fruit plantations consisting of bananas, mangoes, and pineapples, an agriculture official said. The investment will also help support the country’s aquaculture and halala food processing industries.
These investments are being made so that the kingdom could meet its increasing demand for fruits, vegetables, and livestock.
These initiatives, among others, will be discussed by Department of Agriculture (DA) executives who will visit Saudi Arabia. The move is part of the country’s preliminary effort before Saudi Arabia’s ministers of commerce and agriculture undertakes a trade mission to the Philippines in April.
Earlier, the Saudis have expressed their intentions to increase investments in the Philippines during a visit by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to Riyadh.
Besides Philippine bananas and mangoes, investors from the oil-rich kingdom are interested in basmati rice, corn, cassava, sugar, animal fodder, fisheries, and red meat.
Riyahd reportedly issued royal orders that called for the formation of a ministerial team to be led by the Saudi Minister of Commerce and Industry assisted by the Ministers of Agriculture, Foreign Affairs, and Finance. The royal order will reportedly implement the King Abdullah Initiative for Saudi agricultural investment abroad in countries with high agricultural potential like the Philippines.
Earlier, the Philippines and Bahrain have formed a joint committee that will implement an accord intended to formulate a general framework for cooperation in the fields of agriculture and fisheries between both countries.
The memorandum on understanding on agro-fisheries cooperation between Manila and Manama was among the agreements signed during president Arroyo's visit to Bahrain last January.