29th MinBizCon pushes for more resilient agriculture in Mindanao
September 15, 2020 - Tuesday 4:09 PM by PNACARDAVA VARIETY. Cardava bananas are commonly exported to be used for banana chips. (Photo courtesy of DOST-11)
DAVAO CITY – The ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) health crisis has led the majority of Filipinos to see the value of agriculture to ensure food security amid the movement restrictions to contain infections, an official of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) said.
Speaking at the virtual 29th Mindanao Business Conference on Thursday, PCCI agriculture director Roberto Amores pointed out the need to maximize the opportunities of the thriving agriculture industries in Mindanao.
Amores noted that on top of being a big contributor to the country’s economic growth, the sector has remained sustainable even amid the pandemic.
“The health crisis made us all realize the importance of agriculture,” Amores said.
Most of the industry sectors nosedived in terms of growth during the second quarter this year, except for the agriculture sector that posted one percent growth, according to Amores.
This signaled a positive development for the sector, although he cautioned that the growth remains "too small" and there is a need to strengthen the agriculture industries in Mindanao to improve the island’s economy--and the country in general.
For instance, Amores cited the banana industry, especially the cardava variety--as well as frozen bananas--as a thriving industry because of high global demand.
“Frozen bananas and banana chips from cardava is a growing industry because of high demands in some parts of America and Europe,” he said, adding that cavendish banana growers who are facing various problems due to natural disasters could divert to cardava as it is easier to grow.
Amores also cited the durian industry as “another thriving industry in Mindanao”.
He quoted Larry Miculob, the president of the Durian industry council in Mindanao, who earlier pointed out that Mindanao produces 20,000 metric tons of durian, which he said could “generate a lot of economic activity”.
He said China as a market for Mindanao’s durian could be explored, adding that although Thailand and Malaysia are major durian exporters to China, Mindanao could compete given its considerable supply.
Amores also named tuna, dairy, and poultry as potential industries that if developed, could further propel Mindanao agriculture to become more resilient.
The Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (DCCCII) and PCCI, the organizers of the annual Mindanao Business Conference, earlier passed a resolution asking the Department of Agriculture to prioritize strategic areas for agricultural development due to their high availability of raw materials.
These areas include Central Mindanao, Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga del Norte, Tawi-Tawi, and South Cotabato, the organizers said. Judy Quiros
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