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Agri sector upgrade pushed for 2015 ASEAN integration

Tagum City, Davao del Norte – The Regional Development Council in Region-11 (RDC-11) sees the need to upscale and redesign the production and market strategies of agricultural sector in the area to become competitive to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) integration in 2015.

National Economic Development Authority Region-11 Director Maria Lourdes Lim, with Davao del Norte Governor and RDC-11 Chairman Rodolfo del Rosario, and Philippine Information Agency Assistant Secretary Efren Elbanbuena, said there is a need to elevate to a much higher level the agricultural production in the region in preparation for the ASEAN integration.

“We must not be contented with production, we have to convince our producers, the entrepreneurs, and the business sector to go through the value chain of agricultural products,” Lim pointed out.

By value chain, Lim said focus must be set to the big winners and grossers in the agriculture sector, which is the banana industry.

In 2013, the banana industry posted a production of 3,164,641 metric tons (MT), and posted 83 percent performance in terms of production in the region’s agriculture.

“We should not export only fresh bananas. We need to go for product diversification,” Lim pointed out, adding that other products can be produced out of banana, such as chips and flour.

Also in 2013, the modern and competitive agriculture in Davao Region posted a negative 8.0 percent in terms of accomplishment.

Rice sufficiency was also five percent down from its target last year, with an accomplishment rate of 49 percent.