Representatives from national and regional government agencies, local government units, academic organizations and leaders from the private sector convened to discuss how the ASEAN Economic Community presents both opportunities and challenges for the agriculture and fisheries sectors in     Region VI.  The AEC Forum on Updates, Challenges and Opportunities on Food Security is an initiative of the Regional Development Council and sponsored by the Department of Agriculture Region VI Office and was held last April 28, 2016 at the RDC Hall, NEDA VI Building in Iloilo City.  More than 75 participants attended.

Dr. Roehlano Briones from the Philippine Institute for Development Studies gave an Overview on the Implications and Impacts of AEC to the Agriculture and Fisheries Sectors while Updates on Domestic Policies and Actions to Improve Market Integration specifically the Tariff Structures on Agriculture and Fisheries Products was discussed by Director Edward Besana from the Philippine Tariff Commission.  An Overview on the PhilGAP Program: Importance and Challenges Potential focusing on good agricultural practices (GAP) and hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) was presented by Mr. Santiago Palizada from the Bureau of Plant Industry. The interventions and services to enhance competitiveness of the agriculture and fisheries sectors in Region VI were discussed by Mr. Henry Tampani from      DTI-VI, Ms. Lea Tabligan from DOST-VI and Dr. Jonic Natividad from DA-VI.

As ASEAN moves to establish a single market and production base to generate greater intra-ASEAN trade from 2015 onwards, it becomes important to examine the impacts of the AEC on the region’s food industry, and on the various dimensions of food security.

Urgent actions on food availability especially primary production and supply of food were discussed: food reserves and trade; physical access (market supply chain and distribution); economic access to food (affordability/income); and utilization (safety and quality or nutritive value).  Among the viable options and practical approaches to institute reforms in the region that were identified are the following: support high value exports in taking advantage of essentially free trade in agricultural goods within ASEAN; formulate industry roadmaps for developing public-private sector alliances – essential for improving competitiveness; and intensify adoption of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP). /MIBBlancia,PDIPBD