Better road, port facilities needed to boost veggie, fruit sectors: study-A A +A
Thursday, February 14, 2013
KORONADAL CITY -- Lack of sufficient road and port facilities in Mindanao have hampered the growth of the vegetable and fruit sectors in the island, results of a two-year Australian-funded research released Wednesday showed.
Owing to this, the study recommended that more investments should be poured for road and port infrastructures in Mindanao to accelerate the movement of vegetables and fruits produced in the island.
Better roll-on-roll-off shipping services for greater connectivity of markets and port operation should also be provided, according to the study titled "Strengthening Markets of High-Value Fruits and Vegetables in Mindanao: The Case of Transport and Shipping Service Improvement."
Accurate and timely market information, especially to farmers, should likewise be generated, the study also urged.
The study is the output of a two-year research project titled "Transport Policy Study: Promoting Efficiency and Productivity of Flow of Goods -- A Focus on the Transportation Needs of Mindanao Region."
Funded by the Australian Research Centre for International Agricultural Research (Aciar), the study was implemented by the Philippine government-hosted Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization-Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Seameo Searca).
Los Baños-based Searca, headed by director Gil C. Saguiguit Jr., is one of the 20 regional centers of Seameo, an inter-government treaty organization founded in 1965 to promote cooperation among Southeast Asian nations through activities in education, science, and culture.
Citing the study, Searca said in a statement that Mindanao, as the country's major source of agricultural commodities, produced 1.54 million tons of food and live animals in 2009, of which 1.43 million tons were shipped to Luzon (49 percent) and the Visayas (44 percent).
About 70 percent of the total volume of the country's major fruits and vegetables are produced in Mindanao, the statement said, adding that of the figure, at least 90 percent is transported to major urban centers in Luzon and the Visayas.
"However, in an island archipelago like the Philippines, the movement of highly perishable crops such as fruits and vegetables from key production areas in Mindanao to intermediate and terminal markets within and outside the island-region is hampered by the inadequacy of efficient and effective transport systems and port and shipping services," the study pointed out.
"This limits the potential gains that supply chain participants may realize from their produce, given the increasing demand for high quality and safe fruits and vegetables in the Philippines and abroad," it added.
The Aciar-supported Searca study analyzed the impact of road and port network on supply chain players of key fruits and vegetables in Mindanao, with a view to recommending policy directions and development approaches to meet the demand for transportation infrastructure in relation to need, attainment of growth potentials, and competitiveness in the region.
It examined the inter-regional trade of major fruits and vegetables in the Philippines for the period 1999-2009 and identified the factors that influence the trade flows and how the same factors apply to Mindanao's trade patterns.
"Specifically, fruits such as papaya and vegetables such as tomato and lettuce coming from Mindanao were covered in the study to focus on the importance of improving the transport infrastructure in Mindanao," said Dr. Bessie M. Burgos, Searca acting program head for research and development (R&D).
The research team was headed by Dr. Gilberto Llanto, senior research fellow at the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS). The other team members were Dr. Mercedita Sombilla, former SEARCA R&D manager and new agriculture staff director of the National Economic and Development Authority; Karen Quilloy of Searca; and Francis Mark Quimba, Pids research specialist.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 14, 2013.