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09/06/2011: Philippine Agriculture Officials Meet Counterparts in DC

Photo (L-R): Embassy Economic Officer Angelito Nayan, DA Technical Adviser for Foreign-Assisted Projects Salvacion Bulatao, Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr., DAR Undersecretary for Support Services Jerry Pacturan, DA's Philippine Agricultural Development Commercial Corporation President Marriz Agbon and Embassy Agriculture Attache Dr. Josyline Javelosa.

09 JUNE 2011, WASHINGTON DC. Philippine officials from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) were in Washington, D.C. for a series of meetings with multilateral institutions and United States agencies to enhance their understanding of rural development trends and programs and explore collaboration opportunities.  Led by Agrarian Reform Undersecretary Jerry Pacturan, the officials met with representatives of the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, U.S. Agency for international Development and U.S. Department of Agriculture.  He was accompanied by DA officials Marriz Agbon, President of the Philippine Agricultural Development Commercial Corporation, and Salvacion Bulatao, Technical Adviser for Foreign Assisted Projects.

While in D.C., the group also called on Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Jr.  The officials updated Ambassador Cuisia on the current National Convergence Initiative (NCI) for Sustainable Rural Development, a complementation strategy between the three rural development agencies in the Philippines, namely the DA, DAR and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

The NCI is a governance platform that delivers services to farmers, fisherfolks and upland dwellers in an integrated way, including a unified technology and extension upgrade; a master planned agri-infrastructure intervention; and a market process that gives the power of scale to small farmers all within the framework of conserving a sustainable environment. Local convergence agro-enterprise clusters are now being developed across ecosystems from ridge-to-reef, driven by a value chain approach led by local government units, fuelled by private sector investments and supported by DA-DAR-DENR Convergence Initiative for sustainable rural development.

Ambassador Cuisia expressed the need to boost the country's agribusiness industry considering that a large proportion of the population continues to depend on the sector for a living. The Ambassador also shared the Embassy's efforts in advocating for further investments into the Philippines.

The Philippine agriculture officials will proceed to Mexico to engage with implementers of World Bank-assisted direct support programs such as Procampo and Opportunidades. END