Food makers push for investments in agri-A A +A
Saturday, November 2, 2013
FOOD manufacturers are pushing for more investments to boost the agriculture sector and enable it achieve a 10-percent export growth in 2014 and meet rising local demand.
Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Organization Inc. (Philfoodex) president Roberto Amores said the country has value-added goods like mango products and fresh bananas that are in-demand abroad.
"(And) China has a program to buy $150 billion worth of food in the next five years. That will impact in the demand in the Philippines," he said.
Amores said the local requirements for agricultural products are also growing, driven by influx of tourists.
"The consumption patterns of food services and hotels and the changing habits of the domestic consumers have expanded the demand of agricultural products. So we need to continue producing raw materials in order to address this demand," he said.
As the Philippines also braces for Asean integration come 2015, Amores said the government and the private sector need to ramp up investments in agriculture in order to improve productivity and help drive growth in the sector.
"Among these are investments in storage, equipment and increased awareness in global agriculture practice," he said.
Amores, also the food trustee of the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc., said the adoption of sustainable agriculture methods can enhance the sector's competitiveness and productivity.
He said it also imperative for the government to fast-track the establishment of common service facilities nationwide. These include mobile repacking and agriculture laboratory facilities.
"Why these are needed? This is because the global requirements on food safety, global standard are becoming very rigid. So the testing and the capability of the sectors to produce raw materials should be fast. The turn-around cycle needs to be fast-tracked," he added.
Moreover, Amores recommended the establishment of agriculture productive cluster zones where raw materials can be produced.
"(With this,) we can generate better yields with the same input; this automatically lowers the cost of production," he said.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on November 03, 2013.