Alcala cites achievements in agribusiness cluster

The Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Proceso J. Alcala commended the achievements of the agribusiness cluster for its improved efficiency and productivity as well as their coordination and integration of all the activities in line with the Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines- East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

The secretary laid down the highlights of the cluster’s current activities such as the joint venture on hybrid rice production, wherein they have identified 10,000 hectares in Sabah, Malaysia 1,000 hectares in Palawan, and another 4,000 hectares in Mindanao, where the over-all target is 40,000 hectares for 2015 and 2016.  

Secondly, he made mention about  the joint venture and memorandum of agreement (MOA) on corn production between Sabah and Sulawesi wherein a 1,000-hectare site for demo and production has been determined for development. 

He added that other projects in agribusiness includes the Brunei-Philippine joint venture on the commercialization of date-enriched and other date products; pushing palm oil’s inclusion in the priorities of the DA; drafting of BIMP-EAGA seaweed guidelines; value chain study for sardines; climate change vulnerability assessment; and Halal certification of fish products.

“Beyond agribusiness, I congratulate the other ministers heading the other BIMP EAGA clusters for speeding up the processing and implementation of their priority projects. We in the Philippines are particularly grateful for the significant number of infrastructure projects that address the urgent concerns of Mindanao and Palawan, such as energy renewal and community based eco-tourism,” he stressed.

Among the infrastructure project includes the Feasibility Study on the Borneo-Mindanao Power Interconnection, and eco-tourism efforts such as the construction of the P28-million Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority  (TIEZA) funded tourism facilities in Turtle Island, Tawi-Tawi; the development of the Lake Sebu Eco Tourism site and the establishment of the T’boli Cultural Village, which has been 80 percent completed. 

Alcala also congratulated other clusters such as transport, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Tourism, Power and Energy Infrastructure, Agribusiness, Environment, and Trade and Investment Facilitation.

Meanwhile, before the commencement of the business forum in SMX Convention Center, DA 11 Regional Director Remelyn Recoter headed the BIMP-EAGA Agri-Business Cluster Meeting held at Grand Regal Hotel recently.

The first day of the 2nd cluster meeting was comprised updates on the priority projects of the cluster particularly the agro-industry such as the hybrid rice.

The second day of the cluster meeting highlighted the updates on Fisheries Working Group (FWG) projects on BIMP-EAGA Seaweeds Development Project and Sulu Celebes Sea Sustainable Fisheries Management Project, Updates on the New P-EAGA FWG projects by Philippines, New M-EAGA FWG projects by Malaysia, New BD-EAGA FWG projects by Brunei Darussalam, New I-EAGA FWG projects by  Indonesia,  Presentation of Project Proposals on integrating Agricultural Supply and Value of Chains for Regional Economic Development by the BIMP EAGA Business Council (BEBC) , Reforestation and Organic Agriculture with Biotechnology by  BEBC Malaysia, Presentation of Concept Paper on Halal Project by DA- Philippines and Oil Palm project by Philippine Coconut Authority among others.

“The importance of the realization of the goals of the food basket strategy, especially on ensuring food security, enhancing export development of the respective agro-based and fishery export winners and the sustainability of economic activities of our respective clientele, the farmers and fisherfolks will be the major output of this cluster meeting”, Recoter bared.

The meeting was chaired by Oscar Parawan which was attended by head of delegates from the member countries, BEBC, DA regional directors and marketing officers from Mindanao, Davao City Food and Agriculture Chairman Councillor Marissa Abella, Mindanao Development Authority Undersecretary Janet Lopoz , Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Director Fatma Idris and private sectors.(Aggie Media Service)

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