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Agrilink 2014 to focus on agri clusters

In 2015 the ten-member countries of the ASEAN will form a single economic community, the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).  The vision is to enhance their collective competiveness by operating as a single market and production base with a free flow of goods, services, investment, capital and skilled labor.

The combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam grew from $3.2 trillion in 2011 to $3.6 trillion in 2013 or by a total of 12.5%. The aim of the AEC is to boost the growth of this combined GDP and the community’s share in the global supply and value chain.

LOCAL GDP - Philippine GDP grew from $224.1 million in 2011 to $272.2 in 2013 or by a total of 21.5%. This GDP growth compares favorably with the region. Thus its faster growing sectors must prepare to maximize opportunities presented by AEC, and sectors lower growth rates must prepare for challenges.

Antonio V. Roces, president of Foundation for Resource Linkage and Development (FRLD), said, “the ASEAN Economic Community brings with it a new level of opportunities for production and value adding coordination and complementation. However, it also raises the bar of challenges of competition between its member countries.

Each country has to address its comparative strengths and weaknesses and make its own strategies and programs to maximize opportunities and minimize challenges involved with the lowering of tariffs and greater inter-regional trade in goods and services. For Philippine agribusiness, a major concern of competitiveness within ASEAN is the need to provide the benefits of economies of scale to its predominantly small scale agribusiness stakeholders.”

KEY STRATEGY — One key strategy is to upscale common service providers for production, post-harvest and other inter-related facilities along the value chain. Inherent to this is to cluster these inter-related agribusiness facilities in order to improve access to and economies of inputs and linkages for the producers, processors and other stakeholders along the value and market chain.

CASE OF TUNA — The effectiveness of agribusiness clustering is evident in the tuna industry. The majority of tuna catch is landed in General Santos with its upscale fishing port and international container port. Within its vicinity are clustered inter-related industries such as ice plants, cold storage, fish processing and canning, fuel depots and ship repair among others. The result is an efficient supply and value chain which has made the Philippine tuna industry competitive within ASEAN and beyond.

Roces added, “Leaders of agribusiness enterprises within ASEAN are keenly aware that they cannot operate in isolation.  They have to engage other countries within the AEC and beyond. A case in point is the engagement by Philippine government and the expanded tuna industry with other countries through trade agreements which have expanded our access to fishing resources beyond our seas and likewise to international markets.”

REMEMBER THIS — From October 9 to 11, the country’s largest and most influential trade exhibit on agriculture, food and aquaculture will be held at the World Trade Center (WTC). The triple exhibit, composed of Agrilink, Foodlink and Aqualink, has for its theme “Agribusines Clusters: Key to Competitiveness within ASEAN.” It highlights the importance of agribusiness clusters in enhancing collective competitiveness through more effective supply chains on which value chains can be built and sustained.

Supported by the Department of Agriculture, its regional units and allied agencies, as well as co-organized by 30 agribusiness and food organizations, Agrilink 2014 will feature local and international products and technologies at the expanded exhibit area of the WTC.  This 21st Agrilink will as usual offer free entrance to the exhibit, live animal and plant display and seminars.

The three day event will provide easy access to the largest array of the latest and the best agricultural equipment, inputs, technologies, products and services. The exhibit will likewise provide a venue for the biggest gathering of high level leaders of the local and international agribusiness and food sectors that attend as participants and/or resource persons. For more information contact FRLD at 8384491, 2164016, and 09175888799 or email frld.agrilink@gmail.com. Visitors can also pre-register their attendance through its official Facebook page at facebook.com/agrilinkPH.