THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 7 is strengthening its agribusiness initiatives to aid in the country’s economic recovery.
At present DTI is dipping its hands in coffee, cacao, bamboo and coconut, saying these high-value crops have huge market demand both in the domestic and international markets.
Coconut is the most recent sector that the DTI is exploring following the recent passage of the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund which mandates the return of the coco levy funds, now amounting to around P76 billion, to coconut farmers to boost the coconut farming capabilities of the country. This law stands to benefit 3.5 million coconut farmers from 68 coconut-producing provinces.
DTI 7 Director Ma. Elena Arbon said the agency is now looking at the entire value chain of coffee, cacao, bamboo and coconut to identify gaps, find solutions and eventually implement the right interventions per crop.
“Supposed to be, the role of DTI in these value chains is really on the market end. We look at what products are made like cacao for chocolates. We have been able to generate entrepreneurs there, so they are already selling chocolate,” Arbon said during the recently concluded Cebu Business Month Entrepreneurs’ Summit 2021.
However, the real problem for these sectors is on the production side.
“That’s why we are also going back, downstream, in this value chain, together with our partners in the Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Science and Technology and all the other cooperatives in the value chain,” she said.
Arbon said they will be focusing on the production side because of the lack of available raw materials to sustain the manufacturing processes.
“In fact, we are going to do some investment promotion to encourage some people like our partners in the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry who are looking at other investment prospects while they are waiting for the dust to settle from the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said.
Arbon said the agency sees a lot of opportunities for these high-value crops that may help the country in its economic rebound as it uplifts the livelihoods of thousands of farmers in the countryside.
Coconut, for instance, can produce high-value products, such as coco sugar, coco water and furniture.
The cocoa or cacao market, on the other hand, is growing with revenues to reach US$15.50 billion in 2027 across the world buoyed by the rise in demand from Europe and North America. (JOB with KOC)