Dar entices bizmen: Invest in Mindanao's agribusiness

Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar on Thursday, Sept. 23, called on the country’s businessmen to invest in the agribusiness industry in Mindanao and help the government in financing the island-region's progress.

Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar

Dar said the private sector will play a vital role in bringing development to the southern part of the country by making significant investments along with the national government.

"Mindanao is a veritable food basket of the Philippines considering its substantial contribution to the country’s agri-fishery sector. We can attract investments to nurture local agribusiness," he said during the 30th Mindanao Business Conference.

According to Dar, President Duterte is committed to transform the island-region's agriculture and fisheries sector into a modern and competitive sector, thus, driving the national economy to greater heights.

Following the success in the banana industry, the DA Chief expressed hopes that other commodities will also be a hit not only here in the country but also abroad.

"We hope to do the same for cacao, coffee, cassava, abaca, rubber, and finally, coconut, which is poised for a boom with the passage of the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act," Dar said.

"Our pivot to agribusiness promotion is key to addressing the impoverishment of farmers in Mindanao. We empower them by encouraging them to form groups, so that they can leverage their capabilities and reduce their costs of production," he added.

Another area for investment in Mindanao is its seafood industry, Dar said. The Secretary said it must also be given more attention, considering the current drive to aquaculture as a significant source of fish and seafood supply.

He also reiterated the rise of agri-industrial business corridors in Mindanao to incubate profitable agricultural ventures.

"We have broken ground in two crucial sites in New Clark City in Tarlac and in Taguig...the future is ripe for the installment of such complexes in key Mindanao cities," he said.

"The government is fully prepared to continue investing in Mindanao’s future, but the government alone cannot finance Mindanao’s long-term progress. The island region’s private sector – its entrepreneurs and business leaders – must continue to make significant investments into the island-region’s development, especially in those places where investments are most needed,” Dar said.

The business conference was organized by various groups, which discussed the current priority issues and presented solutions, strategies, business models and best practices to help businesses in their recovery efforts.