‘Major economic contributor’: DA chief sells PH agribusiness potential to AmCham

Published February 22, 2021, 6:40 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar is prodding members of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AmCham) to invest in agribusiness opportunities under the “new normal”.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar (DAR photo / File photo / MANILA BULLETIN)
Agriculture Secretary William Dar (DAR photo / File photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

Dar said among the major investments that the agriculture sector urgently need are cold chain facilities–including attendant logistics–to enable food producers to efficiently manage supply and deliver farm and fishery products to the market on a regular basis.

“We need these facilities particularly during the harvest season, when there are surpluses, and thus buy at lower cost and store them,” Dar explained during his virtual meeting with AmCham last Feb. 18.

For Dar, attaining efficient management and delivery of agriculture and fishery products is critical to the country’s food security requirements.

He said the United States (US) remains the top source of local food and agricultural product imports, which in  2019 amounted to $2.8 billion. This was about 2.6 times the value of Philippine food and agricultural exports to the US.

The DA chief emphasized that there is a big potential and opportunity for agribusiness investments, adding that the Philippine agriculture sector is about a P1.8-trillion industry. 

“Despite a flat growth in 2020, we are confident that the sector will continue as a major contributor to the country’s economic resurgence,” he added.

Meanwhile, on the current issue on high pork prices, the Agri chief discussed during the same meeting the steps the department has taken to revive the hog industry, such as increasing the supply of hogs in Metro Manila by sourcing them from African Swine Flu-free provinces, and augmenting local supply from foreign sources.

“The administration has been resolute to stay open for business despite the pandemic and we are happy with the fast action by the members of the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) in opening up the special hog lanes that will ensure the availability of nutritious and affordable food for the Filipino people,” Dar said.

“We hope that the business community all over the country will continue to strengthen their ties and cooperation with each other and with the government so that together we can face current and future challenges not only with greater fortitude and resolve, but also with bolder innovations and greater creativity,” he added.