Zamboanga’s sardines industry can expand to ASEAN market through economic community

By Kris M. Crismundo

MANILA, Oct. 9 (PNA) — Zamboanga Peninsula’s sardines industry is urged to expand its market to other Southeast Asian countries through the economic community of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) taking place by the end of the year.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Assistant Secretary Rafaelita M. Aldaba said Zamboanga Peninsula or Region-9 has comparative advantage to supply the sardines demand in ASEAN.

“Our micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are ready to participate in the global value chain. A good example is sardines, for which the Zamboanga Peninsula is known for,” said Aldaba.

“We have the fish stocks, because of conservation efforts in the region, and the facilities to process,” she added.

The DTI official stressed the benefit of the AEC which offers free flow of trade in goods among ten ASEAN member countries.

“To reach the 600 million strong consumers of ASEAN, we need to work together to craft a local roadmap aligned with national policies. The local roadmap will identify the visions of the region for the industry as well as gaps including needed policy interventions to grow,” Aldaba said.

“The economy of Zamboanga will benefit from ASEAN integration as it shifts from an agro-based economy to an agro-processing economy,” she said.

Currently, average manufacturing growth of Region-9 posted at 4.5 percent and contributing 27 percent of its gross regional domestic product. (PNA)