Statement by Ambassador Huang Xilian at the Philippines-China Agriculture Cooperation Forum

Your Excellency Former President Gloria Arroyo,

Your Excellency Former President Joseph Estrada,

Your Honorable Secretary William Dar,

Your Honorable President Henry Lim Bon Liong,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear friends,


Good afternoon!

Let me begin by thanking the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry Inc. (FFCCCII) for organizing this momentous event. This forum is to honour the memory of Prof. Yuan Longping, known as China's "Father of Hybrid Rice", and take stock of the agricultural cooperation between China and the Philippines. Prof. Yuan devoted his life to the research of hybrid rice and helped billions of people around the globe achieve food security. He is a hero of China and the world. It is particularly worth mentioning that Prof. Yuan had long been dedicated to China-Philippines agricultural cooperation and visited the Philippines for more than 30 times. Today, while we are commemorating Prof. Yuan, I would also like to take this opportunity to pay our high respects to all those who have committed to the friendly cooperation between China and the Philippines.

The agricultural cooperation between China and the Philippines has a long history. The introduction of China's hybrid rice into the Philippines has vigorously promoted our cooperation in agriculture. In 2016, witnessed by President Xi Jinping and President Duterte, Action Plan on Agricultural Cooperation between China and the Philippines was signed, marking a new phase of our agricultural cooperation. Our G-to-G agricultural cooperation projects have yielded fruitful results and our agricultural trade and investment have grown steadily and rapidly in recent years. Here, I would like to share with you some facts and figures, which demonstrate the encouraging progress and strong momentum of our cooperation.

-The Philippine-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology (PhilSCAT) Program has run for nearly 20 years, cultivating 226,500 hectares of commercial hybrid rice, boosting yields by 308,000 tons and benefiting more than 134,000 farmers.

-The Agno River Integrated Irrigation Project has provided irrigation services for 34,450 hectares of farmland all year around in Pangasinan.

-The Chico River Pump Irrigation Project, once completed, will irrigate 8,700 hectares of farmland and benefit more than 4000 households in Cagayan and Kalinga.

-The Rice Donation Project is delivering 10,000 tons of rice to benefit around one million households in the Philippines.

-The Leopard Coral Grouper Seeds Donation Project has provided 200,000 seeds to the Philippines in two batches.

-Over 400 Philippine officials and experts have attended training courses in China and nearly 200 Philippine officials and experts have received training online from China.

-China has become the third largest export destination of the Philippine agricultural products, and the second largest import source of agricultural products of the Philippines.

-Philippine bananas have accounted for more than half of the market share in China.

-Philippine fresh coconuts have entered the Chinese market for the first time, and the Philippines has become the first Asian country to export avocado to China.

-China remains the second largest source of foreign investment of the Philippines, with its investment in agriculture continues to grow impressively.

China-Philippines agricultural cooperation has benefited millions of people from both countries. Watching the short video a moment ago, I could feel the happiness of people for the agricultural cooperation through their smiling faces. Last week, I posted a text about hybrid rice on my Facebook account which has attracted over 1 million viewers and active comments. From the comments I could feel the enthusiasm and expectation of many Filipinos for the promising future of China-Philippines agricultural cooperation.

Last Friday, during the phone call with President Xi, President Duterte said that he hopes that our bilateral practical cooperation in area such as agriculture will achieve more results. China and the Philippines are highly complementary in agriculture and have great potential for cooperation. China feeds 20 percent of the world's population with only 9 percent of the world's arable land. The Philippines has advantages in tropical agriculture. China is willing to work with the Philippines to further implement the consensus reached by our leaders, synergize the Belt and Road Initiative with the Philippines' development strategy, and deepen pragmatic cooperation in agriculture. We hope more people from our two countries will be committed to our bilateral cooperation like Prof. Yuan Longping so as to bring more benefits to our two peoples and pass on our traditional friendship from generation to generation.

To conclude, I wish this forum a complete success.

Thank you and Mabuhay.


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