MANILA, Philippines, October 23, 2014—The World Bank group this week brought together trade and agriculture officials from Africa, Asia, and Latin America with experts and private sector representatives for an international dialogue on how to overcome key trade barriers along agribusiness supply chains.
The peer-to-peer learning event, titled “Leveraging Opportunities for Agri-Food Agencies in the Post Bali Era” and held in Manila October 22 and 23, aimed to help developing countries build efficient trade logistics systems and services that facilitate agribusiness trade while ensuring food safety and security. The discussion focused on identifying potential opportunities for more effective coordination and collaboration among agri-food border agencies and other players in the clearance and movement of staple goods.
The time and cost associated with trading agribusiness products are key factors that determine the ability of developing countries to compete effectively and thrive in global markets where consumers expect to find high-quality foodstuffs on grocery store shelves year round.
Recognizing the importance of enhancing agribusiness trade in a country’s development strategy and agenda, Motoo Konishi, World Bank Country Director for the Philippines, said: “Low- and middle-income countries account for about one-third of the global trade in food and agricultural products, so it is essential for them to make the agribusiness supply chain more efficient in responding to global demand, which will help them compete in the world economy. That will also create more and better jobs for their citizens—a clear pathway to eliminating extreme poverty and making growth work for the poor.”
The gathering brought together over 90 experts from regional and multilateral organizations, private sector representatives and policy makers. Participants included representatives from ministries of finance, trade, industry and agriculture, customs, bureaus of standards, and port authorities from dozens of countries in over 10 emerging markets. Representatives from Bangladesh, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Laos, Kenya, Macedonia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Timore Leste, and Zambia, attended, along with regional organizations including the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Economic Community of West African States States (ECOWAS), and the Secretariat for Central American Economic Integration (SIECA).
The event, which took place at the Makati Shangri La Hotel, allowed participants to exchange knowledge and to discuss policy on trade facilitation best practices and lessons learned. It featured presentations on emerging trends in global trade facilitation and logistics, constraints impacting the efficiency of agricultural supply chains, and international best practices for risk-based quarantine compliance and coordinated border management. Participants had the opportunity to identify gaps in their trade facilitation environment in addition to discussing and elaborating actionable reform plans aimed at improving trade logistics along agribusiness supply chains.
“The Department of Agriculture’s partnership with the World Bank Group to enhance our application of risk management at the border and facilitate higher volumes of imported and exported agri-products will help improve the performance and competitiveness of Philippines agribusiness,” said Fred Serrano, Undersecretary of the Philippines Department of Agriculture.