THE Singapore government is looking to the Philippines, one of the world’s major sources of highly-dependable skilled and unskilled workers, to meet the food needs of its citizens.
Of course, this is not surprising in a country where farmers and fishermen, many of them poor but English-speaking, comprise the bulk of the more than 100 million population.
In fact, the shipment of table eggs, chicken, pork and vegetables to Singapore will soon be done following the completion of sanitary inspections of the production and processing sites.
Members of Singapore’s Agriculture and Veterinary Agency (AVA) arrived in the country last month to check on the production and processing facilities for eggs, chicken and pork.
Team members were not able to inspect the country’s vegetable production areas, but Agriculture Secretary Manny Pinol assured them that vegetable farmers in Mindanao are ready to plant vegetables preferred by Singapore.
Singapore’s new ambassador to the Philippines Gerard Ho Wei has expressed eagerness of his country to import said products, according to Secretary Pinol.
“We have traditionally relied on products from Malaysia and Indonesia but now we are looking at the Philippines as the new source of our food needs,” Wei told Pinol, a former newsman.
Pinol, on the other hand, assured the Singapore ambassador that the Philippines could “tailor-fit” its agricultural and food commodities production to the needs of the market.
With this development, some quarters now see a big potential and growth prospect in further developing the economic cooperation and trade between the two neighboring nations.
The Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are members of the now influential Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Hopefully, our hard-working but beleaguered farmers and fishermen ought to welcome and grasp the opportunity and work together to meet the food needs of Singaporeans.