Support to peace efforts !

By Manny Piñol

Top agriculture officials of China have pledged to allow easy access to the country's insatiable food market products coming from the former conflict areas of the Bangsamoro to support the Philippine Government's peace efforts.

The commitment was made by Vice Ministers Dongyu Qu and Yu Xinrong, who represented Chinese Agriculture Minister Hang Changfu during a breakfast meeting on Monday during the break of the One Belt One Road Forum in Beijing.

During the very cordial breakfast meeting, the two top Chinese agriculture officials said their government has already issued guidelines to private companies to link up with Philippine production companies so that additional products from the former conflict areas would be given priority in the Chinese market.

Among the products identified as priority are banana, pineapple and hash avocado which Dole Philippines is now producing in limited quantity.

With the commitment, China becomes the third country to pledge support to the peace efforts of President Rody Duterte by buying more agriculture products from former conflict areas.

Earlier, Japan and private companies in South Korea expressed interest to buy more products from the Bangsamoro areas with the Farmind Corporation of Japan signing a banana supply commitment of 20-million boxes every year.

In my previous meetings with top officials of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), I have asked them to start organising the stakeholders in their areas so government could come in with financing to support their efforts.

President Duterte has declared his preference for the Bangsamoro people themselves running their own agriculture companies and corporations rather than leasing their land to multi-nationals.

Japan has provided a loaning program under Harvest in the amount of P6-B which could be tapped under this program.

With economic activities in the former conflict areas creating more jobs, President Duterte hopes to further strengthen the foundations of his peace efforts.

(Photos show Vice Minister Dongyu Qu giving me a bear hug while Vice Minister Yu Xinrong looks on. Other photos show Vcie Minister Qu wearing the Barong Tagalog which I gave him and Vice Minister Yu. Photos taken by Romirose Boloron)
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