MinDA pitches agro-logistics projects to European investors


By Marifi S.Jara, Head of Mindanao Office

Logistics and transport connectivity projects that will strengthen the agricultural sector are among the biggest investment opportunities in the southern Philippines, the Mindanao Development Authority (MiNDA) told European companies on Friday at a forum. .

“What Mindanao has been able to demonstrate is relatively better growth than the national average over the past 15 years,” MinDA Deputy Executive Director Romeo M. Montenegro said at the first business conference of Davao co-organized by the Italian Chamber of Commerce. in the Philippines.

Mr. Montenegro, who also heads the agency’s investment promotion and international relations team, cited as an example the outperformance of the southern Philippines with a 5.7% contraction in gross domestic product during the Iffirst year of the pandemic, when the national average was down 9.6%.

“It is particularly thanks to its positive performance in the agriculture and fisheries sector… Our agriculture sector has been our beacon of hope to show resilience,” he said.

Mindanao is the country’s main producer of agricultural export products such as coconut, banana, pineapple, seaweed, rubber and tuna.

“This gives Mindanao a rather attractive investment backdrop as a leader in agricultural exports…therefore, moving forward requires a focus on linking production areas to centers of market,” he said.

MinDA is primarily responsible for coordinating development plans and programs across Mindanao.

It sought to encourage economies of scale by coordinating production in each region and encouraging local specialization, he added.

Mindanao has also positioned itself as a major producer and exporter of other high-value commodities such as cocoa and coffee.

At this year’s Philippine Coffee Quality Competition (PCQC) which has been dominated in previous years by growers from Mindanao, the top 10 winners in the Arabica category were all from Davao del Sur and Bukidnon.

For Robusta, five of the top 10 winners were also from Mindanao, particularly Sultan Kudarat and Bukidnon. Ilocos Sur coffee producer, Mabini C. Ubuan, however, ranked first while two others from the northern province ranked 6and and 9and. Farmers from Negros Occidental and Kalinga also ranked in the top 10.

With more than 200 samples submitted this year, PCQC Technical Working Group Chair Cherry Cruz said interest in the coffee sector, particularly in premium varieties that command higher global prices, is booming across the country.

“More regions are participating since 2018,” she said at the award ceremony held Friday in Davao City.

Meanwhile, MinDA Chairperson Mabel Sunga-Acosta met with Zamboanga City Freeport Special Economic Zone and Authority Administrator Raul M. Regondola last week to boost halal-related investments in ecozone, located in Zamboanga City.

The general direction of investment, Mr. Montenegro said, is to deploy more regional interconnections and logistics hubs, and to facilitate the movement of agricultural products up the value chain.

He said investment programs are now based on “attention to the interdependencies of water, energy, food and climate” to ensure sustainability.

“If you think about investments and development, we think about…how we prepare for the future in 30-40-50 years.”

The Davao Business Forum was held in partnership with the Davao, German, French, Dutch, Spanish, Nordic and Austrian Chambers of Commerce.

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