Davao chamber identifies crops deemed key to competitiveness

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DAVAO CITY -- The Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. is advocating the development of what it describes as “five golden crops” not only to provide more income to farmers but also to prepare them for competition when 2015 ushers in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Economic Community.

 

“These are crops that can be intercropped in farms,” Davao Trade Expo (DATE) 2013 events and program head John Carlo B. Tria explained in a recent interview.

The five crops, he said, are cacao, coconut, coffee, corn and cassava.

DATE is scheduled to be held from Oct. 17 to 19 at this city’s SMX Convention Center.

 

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Mr. Tria noted, for instance, that “[t]here are many opportunities in coconut... for hybrids, macapuno production, coco diesel, activated carbon, coco coir and coco peat.”

Through intercropping, farmers should be able to increase income by maximizing yield of their farms, though involving various produce, he added.

The country’s agriculture sector has to be more productive to be competitive considering that tariffs on agricultural products from Southeast Asia economies will be lowered across the board within the region by 2015.

“We have chosen these ‘golden crops’ as our focus for DATE 2013 so that farmers and the government will put more focus on them,” expo chairperson Agatha Salanatin-Valencia said separately.

She said expo organizers have continued to note the effect on farms of decades of official neglect -- an impact that needs to be addressed promptly as 2015 approaches.

DATE, the longest-running Expo and Conference in Mindanao, is now on its 15th year.

The expo last year yielded total sales of P233 million -- up 279.15% annually -- with 176 exhibitors, 7,149 visitors and 687 delegates.

“We are looking beyond traditional crops like banana and pineapple and, instead, urge our farmers to focus on these five ‘golden crops’...” said Frederick P. Puyod, Davao business chamber trustee.

Ms. Valencia noted growing local and foreign demand for the five crops.

But while the potentials are great current supply is inadequate to meet demand, she said. -- C. A. Carillo  (Business World)