US agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack is visiting the Philippines to further strengthen ties between the Asian country and the United States.
"We are in the position to act as the US’s hub when you talk about agribusiness," Philippine Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap said at briefing on a four-day trade and investment mission led by his American counterpart, Tom Vilsack.
Vilsack said "We will continue to look for opportunities in which US companies can invest in the Philippines and opportunities for us to enhance exports to the Philippines."
The US ag secretary was accompanied by several representatives of US businesses, including meat and grains producer Cargill, meat and milk producer American Trading Services, aquaculture firm Verdant Ocean, feed miller Novick Industries, dairy producer Land O’ Lakes, and renewable energy producer EcoVative Resources.
Feed mill investment
Novick President Luyi V. Ogbebor said he was looking at "possibilities of establishing a joint venture for a feed mill plant for animal feed." He added that Novick might invest $10-15 million for a feed and flour processing plant in the country.
Verdant Ocean President Denzil Nicholson, meanwhile, said: "We are looking at aquaculture projects and sustainable seafood production in the Philippines." Nicholson said his company could invest about $2-3 million.
"The investors will not invest in rehabilitation so the government has to rehabilitate and lay out infrastructures to pave the way for foreign investments," said Roberto C. Amores, vice-president for agriculture of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc.
In 2008, US farm products sold to the Philippines reached $1.77 billion, a record high. During the same period, Philippine agricultural products exported to the US reached $1.24 billion.
Vilsack will proceed to China on October 28-29 meeting to attend the US-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) in Hangzhou, along with US Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.