7 big-ticket agro-economic zones to propel Mindanao’s growth engine

Published March 22, 2019, 5:31 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Antonio Colina IV

DAVAO CITY – The government urged investors to invest in the seven big-ticket agro-economic zones in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), Caraga Administrative Region or CARAGA, and Zamboanga Sibugay to “propel the economic engine” of Mindanao.

Mindanao Development Author­ity (MinDA) public relations head Adri­an Tamayo said the agro-economic zones, which the government plans to be implemented under a public-private partnership scheme, will be located in provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, and Maguindanao in the BARMM; Agusan del Sur in the CARAGA region; and Zam­boanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga Sibugay in the Zamboanga Peninsula at one each per province.

He said the agro-economic zones are strategically located in the poor provinces to “reverse the stale economic activities of these provinces and convert them into models of growth that is inclusive.”

Tamayo said the investors would be assured of tax benefits incentives and the needed materials and labor for the conti­nuity of their operations if they choose to locate in the agro-economic zones.

He said the existing agricultural labor pool could readily fit into the labor demand of agro-industries, which require jobs that do not require high skills.

“The locators will also increase pro­ductivity due to a better mix of inputs, thereby, economies of scale is maxi­mized. The value-added production is also contained in the eco zones which ulti­mately improve the competitive pricing of commodities produced by the industries located in the zones,” he said.

“Hence, the raw materials will be priced effectively, local employment improves, income improves, while at the same time industries experience profit due to better productivity and competi­tive commodity pricing,” he added.

Joan Barrera, division chief of the Project Development Division of the Min­danao Development Authority (MinDA), said that they have already completed the conceptual framework for the agro-economic zones, which are among the catalytic programs of the MinDA, and waiting for interested investors who would like to finance the projects as the agency plans to implement them through a public-private partnership.