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Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion shared that international testing, inspection and certification company SGS has offered to inspect – at no cost to the government – imported agricultural products entering the Philippines.
In his meeting with Concepcion last March 31, SGS Vice President and Regional Operations Manager (Asia) George Bottomley discussed how the SGS system can help monitor leakages in trade and provide data analysis to increase trade revenues and opportunities for the Philippines. The Geneva- based SGS operates locally as SGS Philippines and has offices and laboratories across the country. In total, SGS has 97,000 employees in 2,650 offices and laboratories worldwide.
According to Concepcion, SGS plans on charging its fees to the exporters of agricultural products to the Philippines. “SGS’s offer is to inspect all agricultural products coming in to the Philippines, and it will now be the exporters who will have to pay to send their agricultural products here,” he said.
“The issue on agricultural smuggling is real, and I think any effort to help curb it is worth looking into,” said Concepcion. He said SGS’s proposal will be referred to the relevant public and private sector bodies, such as the Department of Agriculture and the Private Sector Advisory Council for agriculture.
He added that eradicating smuggling and undervaluation of agricultural goods complements efforts to help strengthen local agriculture. “It comes just in time as more companies have become interested in joining our KALAP initiative,” said Concepcion. Just recently, the country’s leading banks and financial institutions met with KALAP and expressed their support of its efforts to ease farmers’ access to credit.
KALAP, or Kapatid Angat Lahat Agri Program, is an initiative of Go Negosyo to help the country’s small farmers integrate into the value chain of large companies. Its proponents have begun drafting its roadmap to implement inclusive business models for primary agricultural commodities in the country.
SGS’s Bottomley emphasized the importance of ensuring the safety and quality of agricultural products in the country, as well as how SGS can assist farmers and agribusinesses by providing testing and certification services. He also affirmed the commitment of SGS to promote sustainable agriculture practices through its programs and initiatives.