Remarks by Deputy Mission Director Patrick Wesner, MOU for Partnership on Cold Chain Development with the Cold Chain Association of the Philippines

Friday, June 7, 2019

[As Prepared]

[Greetings]

It is my pleasure to be here with you all today. I represent the U.S. Embassy and the United States Agency for International Development, also known as USAID.

USAID is the lead U.S. government agency for international development and disaster assistance.

I have been here for about one year and in that time I have seen the close relationship between the U.S. and Philippine governments.

This relationship is built on a deep friendship between our peoples that spans decades, with a great deal of familial ties, tourism and cultural exchange.

This relationship is based on a long-standing partnership to work together to address development challenges in the Philippines, promote bilateral trade and commerce, and address regional political issues.

And this relationship is based on an alliance that supports our mutual security concerns, enables continued freedom of navigation, and upholds the defense of our shared values and liberty.

The United States and the Philippines truly are friends, partners and allies.

Today marks the start of a fruitful collaboration that will lead to safer food and economic growth in key cities that have the potential to boost growth for the country.

We are pleased to be part of this important gathering, which provides an avenue for stakeholders to discuss opportunities and strategies to effectively develop cold chain systems.

Under our Cities Development Initiative (CDI), USAID advances the development of cities outside Metro Manila as engines of growth that is inclusive, environmentally sustainable and resilient.

We currently partner with eight cities, namely, Batangas, Tagbilaran, Puerto Princesa, Legazpi, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos and Zamboanga.

USAID provides a range of technical assistance, drawing from resources in economic growth, health, energy, environment, governance and education.

Among our CDI partner cities, Batangas, Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo and Zamboanga are major transshipment hubs that link markets in agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture.

These cities are also known for their abundant agricultural and aquaculture resources.

Batangas’ high value farm products drive the growth of the city’s agribusiness.

Cagayan de Oro’s location is strategic for the transit of its vast crop, livestock and poultry industries.

Iloilo has scaled up its agricultural production, trade and investment, and is becoming a major producer of coffee and cacao.

Zamboanga City has high value commercial crops such as rice, corn and cassava. It is also a strategic market hub for mango, as Zamboanga Peninsula is one of the country’s largest mango producing regions.

There are enormous opportunities for growth in these industries.

To maximize these opportunities, local agricultural and fishery producers must step up production and post-production practices.

To enhance competitiveness, local producers must ensure compliance with stricter product quality and food safety.

And to be more competitive in international trade, they must also heighten quarantine regulations.

USAID works closely with government and private sector partners to create a favorable business environment that facilitates open and fair trade and where infrastructure and businesses thrive.

By increasing trade opportunities, countries can create new economic opportunities and lay the groundwork for a more prosperous future.

The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding signals the enhanced partnership of USAID and Cold Chain Association of the Philippines to support the expansion of cold chain facilities and services in the four CDI cities.

An effective cold chain system will reduce waste, improve food quality, and generate higher financial returns in the production sector.

It will ensure the freshness and quality of food products during transportation and storage, from production areas to retail outlets.

On behalf of USAID, I thank the city governments of Iloilo, Batangas, Cagayan de Oro, and Zamboanga for their continuing partnership to pursue sustainable development for their cities.

Likewise, I also thank our partners from the Cold Chain Association of the Philippines, the Department of Science and Technology, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for providing technical assistance to our joint activities.

The U.S. government remains a committed partner in advancing market-driven economic growth in the Philippines and the broader Indo-Pacific region. Congratulations to all for this successful event.

Thank you and mabuhay!

Issuing Country 

Last updated: September 10, 2019

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