Manila, Philippines – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has launched a new Food for Progress project to strengthen sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) regulatory systems in the Philippines. Food for Progress is a USDA program that partners with developing countries and emerging democracies committed to introducing and expanding free enterprise in the agricultural sector. USDA has selected Winrock International through a competitive award process to implement the project with an estimated $8.5 million operating budget. The project will pursue activities to strengthen Philippine regulatory agencies’ SPS systems through the adoption of risk-based and international standards to facilitate agricultural trade.
On Friday, September 27, visiting U.S. Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney met with Philippine Under Secretary of Agriculture Rodolfo Vicerra and Under Secretary of Health Rolando Enrique Domingo to discuss the four-year project, which will be funded with the proceeds of donated U.S. agricultural commodities sold in the Philippine market. The most recent Food for Progress project in the Philippines used U.S. soybean meal as the donated commodity.
Under Secretary McKinney noted, “This project aims to strengthen Philippine food security by delivering their consumers and agribusiness access to safe, affordable and nutritious foods and feedstuffs through an improved regulatory framework based on risk-based principles and streamlined processes that ultimately enhance livelihoods while increasing opportunities for U.S.-Philippine trade.”
Under Secretary Vicerra said, “The Department of Agriculture welcomes this opportunity to enhance the capacity of its regulatory agencies in ensuring that food safety, sanitary and phytosanitary concerns are addressed alongside the flow of trade.” Under Secretary Domingo added that he is “optimistic that the collaboration brought about by this project will strengthen the regulatory function capacity of the Philippines Food and Drug Administration. This will enable the agency to develop a risk-based regulatory system that will promote effective and efficient outcomes.”
Winrock’s legacy in Philippines stretches back to 1954. More recently, Winrock implemented the USDA Food for Progress Philippines Cold Chain project (2013-2019) in the Caraga Region of Mindanao. This project helped Filipino farmers increase incomes by improving productivity and food safety, while reducing post-harvest losses. The project improved practices in the production of horticulture, livestock and fishery commodities, while improving access to markets, financing and post-harvest facilities. As a result of the project, 22,491 individuals received technical training, 10,642 hectares are now managed with improved techniques and technologies, and PHP 1,759,920,491 ($33,206,047) of livestock, horticulture and fishery products were sold.