Boosting Economic Development Of Mindanao

Mindanao is getting a big share of the 2013 budget of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to fund farm infrastructure, mostly irrigation systems and farm-to-market roads. A big part of the 2013 budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways will also go to infrastructure projects for Mindanao, to support the newly signed peace agreement.

The DA will set up a community-based hatchery for high-value marine species to boost aquaculture. Post-harvest facilities for high-value crops will include trading posts, grains centers, and cold storage plants. A triple-A abattoir will be established under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program. The government sees the region's great potentials for agriculture largely due to its environment, vast plantations, and grazing fields. More funds will help improve the livestock sector, develop alternative feed technologies, and explore new export opportunities.

The DA is banking on the development of Mindanao so that products from the region can compete when the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) becomes an integrated community by 2015. The government is working to reduce food imports by the end of 2013. The government is targeting to become rice self-sufficient and export rice by next year. It is also seeking to become vegetable self-sufficient by 2016.

The Philippines has an agriculture-based economy. Most Filipinos live in rural areas and earn their living through agriculture. The agriculture sector is made up of four sub-sectors: farming, fisheries, livestock, and forestry, employing 39.8 percent of the labor force and contributing 20 percent of Gross Domestic Product. The main agricultural crops are rice, corn, coconut, sugarcane, bananas, pineapple, coffee, mangoes, tobacco, and abaca. The country exports its agricultural products to the United States, Japan, Europe, and ASEAN.

The Manila Bulletin, led by its Chairman of the Board Dr. Emilio T. Yap, President and Publisher Atty. Hermogenes P. Pobre, Executive Vice President Dr. Emilio C. Yap III, Editor-in-Chief Dr. Cris J. Icban Jr., Business Editor Loreto D. Cabañes, Officers and Employees, wish Department of Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala and Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio L. Singson, all the best and success as they endeavor on programs that will uplift the living condition of Mindanao farmers and fisherfolk. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!