|20th European Seafood Expo (ESE)|
The Philippines participated in the recently-concluded 20th European Seafood Exposition (ESE) which was held from 24-26 April at the Brussels Expo Center in Brussels, Belgium.
The Philippine delegation, which was headed by Department of Agriculture assistant secretary for marketing and fisheries, Mr. Salvador "Doy" Salacup, was composed of ten seafood companies namely, Bluefin Seafood Export, Inc., FAB Sea Resources, Jarla Trading, JN Mercado Seafood Supply, M.S. Seafood Supplier, Mega Fishing Corporation, Nuevo Fresco Marine Trading Corporation, Philfresh Corporation, RDEX Food International, Phils, and Well-Delight Network Corporation. World-class products such as fresh chilled and frozen tuna, frozen octopus, cuttlefish and squid, and canned and pouched sardines were promoted.
This is the second time in a row that the Philippines represented by the fishery sub-sector participated at ESE. The Department of Agriculture headed by Secretary Proceso Alcala provided support to private sector initiative that would increase the Philippines' share on the export market for fishery products, and which in turn would generate more income for local fisherfolks. The USAID - Growth with Equity in Mindanao also provided support through its Institutional Capacity Building program. A Philippine Pavilion comprising 54 m2 was set up that featured the best of Philippine seafoods. Product tasting attracted attention with the participation of a Japanese sushi chef that added to the quality presentation. Philippine seafoods at the ESE was well-received.
The total value of sales (booked and under negotiation) at the ESE was reported at USD 25 million. The figure is 20% increase from last year's sales.
The Philippine Embassy in Brussels through its Ambassador, H.E. Victoria S. Bataclan, extended full support to the Philippine delegation. The Embassy hosted the venue of the Welcome Dinner for the participants and their business network on 25 April. Invitees included the Bilateral Relations with Third Countries officer, Mr. Stephane Andre, of the European Commission - Directorate General for Health and Consumer Affairs. The team from the Office of the Agricultural Attache composed of Mr. Pit Laquian, Agricultural Attache, and Ms. Nolet Fulgencio, Agricultural Analyst, coordinated on the successful conduct of the Philippine participation to the ESE.
The Philippines' total trade in agriculture accounted to USD 4.0 billion in 2011 as compared to Vietnam at USD 12 billion, Malaysia at USD 20 billion, and Thailand at USD 28 billion. In a brief message during the Welcome Dinner at the Philippine Embassy, Assistant Secretary Salacup emphasized on the importance of "maintaing visibility in the European arena", and urged Philippine stakeholders particularly the Philippine delegation to the ESE to ensure that the Philippines would not further lag behind its ASEAN neighbors. The Department of Agriculture would be working harder, in cooperation with the private sector, on increasing the value of exports by an annual average of 20% in the coming years.