MANILA – Agriculture Secretary William Dar on Thursday called on the private sector to continue investing in Mindanao’s long-term development.
“Mindanao is a veritable food basket of the Philippines considering its substantial contribution to the country’s agri-fishery sector. We can attract investments to nurture local agribusiness,” Dar said during the 30th Mindanao Business Conference.
He said businessmen could explore the island region’s agricultural landscape, citing its growing cacao, coffee, cassava, abaca, rubber, and coconut plantations, as well as its widely established banana industry.
“We have strengthened our campaign to consolidate the banana industry, and we hope to do the same in cacao, coffee, cassava, abaca, rubber, and coconut,” Dar said.
He noted that agribusiness promotion is key to empowering the farmers.
“Our pivot to agribusiness promotion is key to addressing the impoverishment of farmers in Mindanao. We empower them by encouraging them to form groups so that they can leverage their capabilities and reduce their costs of production,” he said.
Another area for agri-investment is seafood, which Dar said must also be given more attention given the current drive to aquaculture as a significant source of fish and seafood supply.
He also reiterated the rising of agri-industrial business corridors in Mindanao to incubate profitable agricultural ventures.
“The government is fully prepared to continue investing in Mindanao’s future, but government alone cannot finance Mindanao’s long-term progress. The island region’s private sector – its entrepreneurs and business leaders — must continue to make significant investments into the island-region’s development, especially in those places where investments are most needed,” Dar said.
The business conference was organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, together with the General Santos City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc., South Cotabato Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation Inc., and Sarangani Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
With the theme, “Changing Times, Challenging Roles in Mindanao,” the conference featured a series of talks and plenary sessions with select guest and esteemed resource speakers discussing top priority issues of the time, present solutions, strategies, business models, and best practices to help businesses in their recovery efforts. (PNA)