ILOILO CITY — The small island province of Guimaras has to process its agricultural and marine products
to spur more growth and development.
Nelson Ynion, a retired ship captain and president of the American Association of Western Visayas (AAWV),
proposed the construction of processing plants to achieve these.
“That’s why we are calling for processing plants to be built,” said Ynion who spearheaded a private sector initiative to establish an economic zone in Guimaras.
He reiterated that Guimaras will lag behind if it cannot sell its products to a wider market.
Guimaras is known for its sweet variety of mangoes but growers of the fruit have suffered a slump during the pandemic.
“Planting and harvesting mangoes is a very expensive process. The financial losses become bigger when the product cannot be sold and it will rot,” Ynion pointed out.
Aside from mango, Guimaras has farmlands that produce coconut milk, jackfruit, bamboo shoot, pineapple, peanuts, cashew nuts, and calamansi.
Guimaras also has a bountiful of marine and aquatic products, including milkfish, tilapia, oysters, and seaweeds.
Ynion, who has helmed cargo ships that transport products worldwide, said there has to be a way to make by-products.
“We have to think of shelf life and concerns. Mangoes only have a certain shelf life,” Ynion explained.
The group of Ynion is coordinating with representatives of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) for the proposed economic zone.