The Philippines and Israel are ready to sign a mutual investment protection agreement in a variety of sectors, focusing on agriculture technology, where the former has lagged behind other countries and was exacerbated by the pandemic.
At the virtual Philippine-Israel Agrotech Business Forum and B2B Session, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) President Amb. Benedicto V. Yujuico revealed that during his meeting in February this year with Israel Ambassador to the Philippines Rafael Harpaz they agreed to jointly undertake a series of pitching sessions on agro-technology and information and telecommunications technology sectors.
The Israeli Ambassador cited opportunities for Israeli firms in Philippine agriculture, water technology, clean technology, cybersecurity, medical healthcare, industry 4.0, and other sectors.
“The modernization of the agriculture sector has been sidelined in favor of services and manufacturing during this pandemic period,” said Yujuico.
It is very unfortunate, he said, because agriculture is the main economic activity in the countryside, where it employs about 25 percent of the population, combined with agribusiness, the sector employs 40 percent of the Filipino people.
Crucial to improving productivity in the sector is innovation through cutting-edge technologies. Yujuico cited how Israel has been able to become food sufficient even if it has only 20 percent arable land.
The ambassador noted Israel has been advocating advanced agriculture systems, training Filipinos. Israel introduced drip irrigation to the Philippines and promoted solar energy technology, greenhouses, and hydroponics.