THE Department of Agriculture (DA) is backing the staging of what promises to be Southeast Asia’s largest food exhibition in June 2014.

“SIAL or Salon International de l’Agroalimentaire  is coming to Asia next year via SIAL  Asean [Associations of Southeast Asian Nations] and the DA is proud to support and take part in it,” said Officer in Charge-Assistant Secretary for Marketing and concurrent Agriculture Agribusiness Marketing Assistance Service (AMAS) Director Leandro Gazmin.

He made the announcement on Friday’s Stakeholders’ Appreciation Night organized by AMAS to honor key collaborative partners from the country’s agribusiness sector at the Philippine Army Officers’ Club in McKinley Hill in Taguig City.

Assistance from the DA will be in form of sponsorship, Gazmin said.

Filipino farmers and fishers—who provide the raw materials for the exporters and processors—stand to benefit from the trade and networking activities that will take place throughout the duration of the four-day affair.  Holding it in the Philippines offers a chance for more local participation among local exporters, processors and other agribusiness players, who could take the opportunity to showcase a wider array of their best products and services—all at lesser costs.

SIAL Asean expects 800 exhibitors—half of whom are international—and 15,000 visitors, the official web site reports.

Focused on the theme “Best-Kept Secret for Food Business in Asia,” the SIAL Asean will be held at the World Trade Center Metro Manila on Roxas Boulevard from  June 11 to 14, 2014, in conjunction with the Manila Food and Beverage Expo (Mafbex) of Mafbex Events Management, which will be conducted in a separate venue inside the WTC complex.

The event coincides with SIAL’s 50th anniversary.

Established in 1964 in Paris, SIAL is responsible for the organization of other trade events such as SIAL China, SIAL Middle East, SIAL Brazil and SIAL Canada.

The Philippine hosting of SIAL Asean was sealed through a memorandum of understanding between French event’s organizer Comexposium and Mafbex Events Management in October this year in Makati City.

“For a country that derives a significant part of its export earnings from agricultural commodities, SIAL Asean is a vote of confidence about the potential and prevailing dynamism of Philippine agriculture,” said Agriculture Secretary Prospero J. Alcala in a separate interview.