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DTI, DA to establish product traceability system for global competitiveness

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The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), together with the Department of Agriculture (DA), is designing product traceability system to meet international standards and secure the country’s share in the global market for agro-industrial products.

In a round-table meeting Monday, the DA and DTI, along with other national government agencies such as the National Economic Development Authority, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Agrarian Reform, Food and Drug Administration, and Department of Finance, discussed a 3-year joint project dubbed as Program on Philippine Traceability for Revitalized Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement (P-TRACE)with the technical cooperation of United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and for possible funding assistance under a “debt-for-development swap” agreement with the Italian government through the Italian Cooperation Agency. The program’s proposed financing amounts to US$ 5.8.

Under this agreement, the Italian government will be paid in a form of this development program, which has to be aligned to the 2011-2016 Philippine Development Plan’s vision of globally-competitive and innovative industry and services sector. This program also has to be consistent with thematic areas of the UNIDO on poverty reduction through productive activities and trade capacity building.

In supporting this program, DA and DTI have taken active roles in developing a traceability system not just to improve the competitiveness of our agro-industrial products but also to assist marginalized farmers, DTI Undersecretary for Regional Operations and Development Merly M. Cruz said in the meeting.

Through this traceability system, the movement of food products in the supply chain will be tracked to document distribution and production inputs and processes. Hence, the system will help identify the cause of any food safety concern or quality problem for stakeholders to take prompt corrective measures.

“We hope to implement P-TRACE within the year. We already identified five (5) priority projects in the agriculture and fisheries sector,” Cruz said. These projects cover banana chips and crackers, fresh and processed pineapples, desiccated coconut, chilled tuna, and dried mango.

DA Undersecretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat also said that the “P-TRACE will not only benefit our local consumers but also our exporters.”

The proposed P-TRACE is seen vital for the sustained access of exports in the world market. The current deficient traceability mechanism resulted in the recall of some of the country’s exports.

Sharing on the success of the Egyptian Traceability Center for Agro Industrial Exports (E-TRACE) in the meeting, National Program Director AlaaFahmy noted that 70 percent of Egypt’s exports are now documented under their traceability system launched on July 2004.

E-TRACE was a joint project of UNIDO, the Italian Development Cooperation, the Egyptian Ministry of Trade and Industry and the private sector. E-TRACE was established to ensure food products’ safety and suitability for export and to help farmers and producers comply with international standards.

By PNA/PIA9-ZBST




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