A MINDANAO Development Authority (Minda) official believes that Mindanao, being agriculture-oriented, is performing well despite some current economic challenges around the country.
Minda Assistant Secretary Romeo Montenegro said the agricultural products of Mindanao are not necessarily affected by external concerns and can still go on operating despite the felt economic challenges in other parts of the Philippines and abroad.
Montenegro said various challenges in the world economy are currently apparent in the form of stocks prices being challenged and peso to dollar exchange rate unfavorable with the country’s debt obligation.
“But at the end of the day, you look at the peculiarity of Mindanao. Number one, we are an export-oriented economy particularly of our agriculture. Number two, our products are not affected by external factors meaning to say if exports of microchips in the semiconductors being assembled in Cavite declined as a result of economic climate happening adversely in other countries, they (importing countries) will continue to eat our bananas, our pineapples, our tunas, and many other agricultural commodities,” said Montenegro.
He added last year, Mindanao rebounded strongly posting a 4 percent agricultural output – a leap from the negative 1.4 percent in 2016. On top of that, the Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) of Mindanao was also recorded to be at 7.1 percent, much higher than the national average of 6.5 percent and of the National Capital Region (NCR).
Montenegro said they are currently closely monitoring this because they have seen how despite the agriculture industry facing challenges in terms of peace and security in some parts of the island region, “the agriculture economy is able to demonstrate performance.”
“When we have this kind of economic make-up, complemented by the growth in the industry and the services sector, then this makes a menu for a palatable economic output for Mindanao and this is where we are closely keeping track on,” he said.