China offers aid to boost PH food security
China has offered to help President Rodrigo Duterte increase the production of food for the needs of Filipinos during his state visit to Beijing last week, Agriculture chief Emmanuel Piñol said Monday.
“I heard very clearly during the bilateral talks that President XI Jinping of China emphasized the willingness of the Chinese government to support the efforts of the Philippines government in its efforts to produce more food for the people,” Piñol said in a Palace press briefing.
The Secretary welcomed the Chinese aid, saying it could help cut the post-harvest losses in both agriculture and fisheries.
About 40 percent of the country’s total fish catch is lost to spoilage due to lack of cold storage and ice production facilities while 16 percent of agricultural products suffer posts-harvest losses, Piñol said.
The official said he has asked the President for permission to hold exploratory talks with Chinese funding institutions that could fund farm-to-market roads, farming technology, fish landings and cold storage facilities.
China showered Duterte last week with an estimated $24 billion in investment and loan pledges. The world’s second largest economy also previously promised support for Manila’s bloody war on drugs, which has earned outcry from the United States, United Nations, European Union and international human rights groups.
The recent shift in PH-China ties comes after weeks of Duterte’s fitful threats of cutting ties with the US, and shows a stark contrast to the relations of the Asian giant with the previous Aquino administration, which filed and won an arbitration case invalidating Beijing’s claim to the South China Sea.
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