Private sector support vital to PHL agribusiness development –Alcala

January 28, 2015 6:25 am 

By Cielito M. Reganit

MANILA, Jan. 27 (PNA) — Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said on Tuesday that while the government is keen on creating an efficient business environment to increase earnings and competitiveness of local farmers, assistance from the private sector remains essential for the agriculture sector to be competitive in foreign markets.

“The Department of Agriculture (DA) is presently upgrading and fine-tuning its food safety and quality standards in sync with global benchmarks to make local agribusiness more competitive in foreign markets,” he said.

“However, the private sector’s assistance is vital to ensure safety standards and compliance,” he added.

The DA chief said they are, at the same time, encouraging foreign businessmen to invest in the country.

“Private sector investments in the food and agribusiness sectors are most welcome to go hand in hand with DA’s initiatives to further spur the agribusiness sector,” Alcala said.

He also highlighted the opportunities for the private sector under the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP).

PRDP is a six-year national government platform for an inclusive, value chain-oriented and climate-resilient agriculture and fisheries sector.

He cited the Unifrutti and DA-PRDP collaboration, which seeks to develop at least 3,000 hectares of banana plantation in the conflict-affected provinces of Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, as a prime example on how the government and the private sector could work together to spur countryside development.

“Through the partnership, the DA will establish PHP259- million worth of farm-to-market road in the area while the foreign company will pour in investments and provide job opportunities for the locals,” Alcala said.

In the meantime, he said that the DA is currently working on the expansion of trading centers throughout the country, with 17 centers set to be opened this year.

Four trading centers were launched in 2014.

“These trading centers will be the venue for farmers to drop-off and sell their produce while reducing the layers of middlemen affecting their income,” Alcala said.

He added that along with the trading centers, the DA will establish processing plants and laboratory facilities to reduce losses, increase farm produce value, and ensure safety of the veggies traded in the area.

“These trading centers will not merely serve as hub for agri-produce delivery, but will also support logistical systems to reduce travel time to and from trading areas and farms and reduce production losses as well as marketing systems for better trading,” he explained.

To support production performance of local farmers, Alcala said the DA is currently implementing the clustering of farmers in corn and sugarcane areas for better delivery of interventions, particularly of machinery and equipment, to farmer beneficiaries.

“Credit programs are also put in place to provide financial assistance to local agri-producers,” he said. (PNA)



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