Piñol seeks shrimp exports to Russia


Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol called on local shrimp industry players to get their acts together as the Philippines bids to supply shrimps to Russia.

“This is where I would like to bring the shrimp industry,” Piñol said at the opening of the three-day 11th National Shrimp Congress held at the SMX Convention Center in Bacolod City on Thursday. “We have to get our act together. We cannot operate independently.”

Piñol said he recently had talks with his Russian counterpart during the bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Meeting in Vietnam. Also, he was with President Rodrigo Duterte during the latter’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the APEC Summit in Da Nang, Vietnam.

In that meeting, Putin was very empathic in telling Duterte to start delivering agricultural products as they have the money, Piñol said.

Piñol said he will meet with feed and flour millers and ask them to partner with shrimp industry players, as well as with banana growers.

The key to a successful engagement with Russia is backloading, Piñol said.

“We deliver, they deliver. We backload shrimps, banana and everything we produce in this country. This could mean less cargo and freight costs and that will make us competitive,” he said.

By the end of this month, the national government will form a technical working group that would focus on trade engagements between the Philippines and Russia.

Piñol, who will head the technical working group, said he will send an inspection team to Russia next month.

In February 2018, the government will hold the Philippine-Russia Trade and Business Forum in Davao City.

This forum will allow local shrimp industry players to directly engage with their Russian counterparts, Piñol said.

“I will wait for the outcome of this congress, which we will use in building a roadmap for the shrimp industry. This development plan will make you feel that government after all cares for you,” he said.

The DA’s priority measures to further boost the agriculture and fishery sectors are technology, financing and marketing, Piñol said.

Senator Cynthia Villar, chair of the Senate committee on agriculture and food, in her keynote message delivered by newly-appointed Sugar Board Director Emilio Yulo III, said shrimps remain an important commodity in the country.

With an annual production of 50,000 metric tons, the Philippines ranks sixth in world shrimp production.

In Western Visayas, Negros Occidental has the highest shrimp production, records of Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Region 6 showed.

Villar said the congress is a good platform to discuss new ideas, processes, practices and technology that can sustain the growth of the shrimp industry.

“The Philippine shrimp industry is also in the midst of more intense competition amid the regional economic reintegration under the ASEAN economic community. Thus, there is a need to keep pace with industry trends and innovations to improve yields and production,” she added.

Themed “Sustainable Shrimp Industry: Unified Direction Towards Production and Growth”, the three-day event gathers thousands of industry stakeholders from both public and private sectors in the country.

Philippine Shrimp Industry Inc. president, Roberto Gatuslao, said the congress is a caravan of knowledge positioned to convey the latest technological innovation that can positively influence production. rw: wjg