China-Philippines agricultural cooperation benefits millions of people in both countries

MANILA, Sept 5 (Xinhua): The China-Philippines agricultural cooperation has benefited millions of people from both countries, said China's Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian at an online forum on agriculture cooperation held on Friday (Sept 3).

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

He added Philippine bananas have accounted for more than half of the market share in China, fresh Philippine coconuts have entered the Chinese market for the first time, and the Philippines has become the first Asian country to export avocado to China.

Huang said that the signing of an action plan on agricultural cooperation in 2016 marked a new phase of agricultural cooperation between the two countries. "Our government-to-government projects have yielded fruitful results, and our agricultural trade and investment have grown steadily and rapidly in recent years."

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

Meanwhile, China supported the Philippines through irrigation and agricultural technology projects, particularly the Philippine-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology that cultivates 226,500 hectares of commercial hybrid rice, benefiting more than 134,000 farmers, according to the Chinese ambassador.

He said the introduction of China's hybrid rice into the Philippines "has vigorously promoted" the agricultural cooperation between Beijing and Manila.

Chinese late scientist Yuan Longping, also known as the "father of hybrid rice," has visited the Philippines more than 30 times and brought the know-how of the high-yielding rice variety to thousands of Filipino rice farmers.

Former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said her country "owes a large part of our achievements in reducing poverty" to China and the Chinese agronomist who passed away in May this year at age 91.

She called Yuan "a global hero, a peacetime hero" whose research in hybrid rice and selfless sharing of what he knew saved and continue to save rice-eating people of the world from hunger. - Xinhua
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