DA chief deems agribusiness industry as cornerstone of inclusive growth

By Filane Mikee Z. Cervantes

MANILA, Oct. 15 (PNA) — Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Proceso J. Alcala emphasized the role of agribusiness industry development as a cornerstone of inclusive growth during the country’s premiere international trade exhibit in agriculture, food, and aquaculture, “Agrilink 2015” slated Oct. 15 to 17 at the World Trade Center.

In his keynote speech to jumpstart the three-day exhibition, the DA Secretary cited the role of each region’s agribusiness strength and diversity which addresses the challenges of global competitiveness and inclusive growth.

“This year’s focus on regional agribusiness development underscores the huge role of the national and local agribusiness stakeholders optimizing the capabilities of the agricultural value chain to make our products globally competitive,” he said.

“True to the spirit of “thinking global and acting local”, regional agribusiness development achieves comparative advantages by promoting specialization and diversification of regional economies,” he added.

Alcala views Agrilink as an ideal platform to emphasize its core programs and address issues of agricultural sustainability, food security, and international competitiveness in lieu of its theme “Regional Agribusiness Development: Cornerstone of Inclusive Growth.”

In addition, Alcala believes that a more dynamic exchange of goods, better employment, and capacity building are required to boost each region’s trademark identity which would eventually lead to growth and progress of the area.

The 22nd edition of Agrilink directs the spotlight to the corn sector with its invaluable contribution to the food and feed security. Cagayan Valley (Region 2) also takes the center stage as the country’s top producer of corn.

The Philippine corn industry plays a crucial role in ensuring food security being a major feed input to livestock, poultry and aquaculture sectors. Cagayan Valley’s capability to produce high quality corn is reflected in the preferential price and demand for Region 2 corn. Quality corn also favorably impacts livestock, poultry and aquaculture enterprises.

“By adopting regional agribusiness development, Cagayan Valley is able to sustain an inclusive and sustainable growth in the corn industry and we remain to be the country’s top producer of corn,” said this year’s Chairman of Agrilink, Isidro Acosta.

Other regional agribusiness success stories include the AHON boat building and rehabilitation assistance for the fisherfollk of Eastern, Central, and Western Visayas; the small coffee farmers and processors assistance program in Maramag Bukidnon; the cassava granule production in South Cotabato; and the Philippine Cold Chain Project with Winrock International in Caraga, among others.

The event was formally opened through a ceremonial ribbon cutting led by the DA chief and other dignitaries.

After the opening ceremony, Alcala, together with industry stakeholders and members of the diplomatic corps, were led in a tour of the exhibits showcasing the world’s best products, services, technologies, and market trends in agribusiness, food, and aquaculture.

This year’s triple exhibit, comprising of Agrilink, Foodlink, and Aqualink, highlights regional agribusiness development as an approach in enhancing focus complimentary agricultural crops and agribusiness activities, which in turn improves the efficiency of value adding and supply chain, and ultimately the competitiveness of the region and collectively of the country.

Other special events at Agrilink followed, such as live animal and plant display at the outdoor areas and WTC lobby, as well as cooking demos and product launches at the indoor area.

During the kickoff ceremonies, Alcala was joined by Representatives Mark Mendoza and Benjur Salimbangon; DA assistant secretary for agribusiness Leandro Gazmin, French Ambassador Thierry Mathou, South Korean Ambassador Jae Shin Kim, Dutch Ambassador Marion Derckx, Foundation for Federation and Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Council (FRLD) board of directors, and Agrilink 2015’s Chairman Isidro Acosta. (PNA)