MINDANAO exporters are supporting the development of export gateways and growth corridors, as they aim to penetrate more overseas markets for products from Mindanao, the country's premier food source and agribusiness producer.

These five corridors are the Mindanao Food, Agribusiness and Logistics Corridor, the Mindanao Food Basket Corridor, Mindanao Biodiversity and Ecotourism Corridor, Mindanao Industrial Trade Corridor, and Mindanao Mariculture and Trade Corridor.

These corridors can be clustered into three larger economic clusters according to their strategic role in the overall development of Mindanao.

Within each corridor, an integrated development program will be implemented to jump-start and accelerate development.

"The development of Mindanao Export Gateways and Growth Corridors hopes to accelerate economic development and inclusive growth in Mindanao, while being mindful of the ecological impact of development," according to the resolutions during the Mindanao Export Congress in Davao.

To implement such program, the island's local supply chain management shall be strengthened and connected to potential international export gateways and growth corridors.

This is through convergence of inter-province and inter-city road networks and ports improvements specifically logistics support including roll-on roll-off (RoRo) facilities.

In the same congress, Secretary Luwalhati Antonino of the Mindanao Development Authority (Minda) cited the ongoing widening of the Tagum-Davao-General Santos road link that is aimed to convert these road networks into high standard highways in support of the Davao and General Santos export gateways.

Antonino said the same road network system improvement shall be done in Northern Mindanao, Caraga and Western Mindanao export gateways.

She cited as examples Mindanao's top exports, such as coconut oil and bananas which are still sourced from rural areas and are processed and marketed in urban centers.

"Improving these roads in Mindanao would facilitate lower cost production and marketing, reduce internal transport costs and therefore will increase transaction efficiencies in the marketing chains," she said.

Antonino said the Laguindingan airport was opened for business in June this year, "a crucial step toward the attainment of the Mindanao Industrial Trade Corridor."

This particular growth corridor is designed to intensify economic activities in Surigao Norte, Butuan, Pagadian, Dipolog, Iligan, Cagayan de Oro and other Northern Mindanao provinces, she added.

Moreover, Antonino said MinDA is supporting the setting up of integrated agribusiness infrastructure and other value-adding support facilities in strategic locations nearer the export gateways.

In 2012, Mindanao generated more than $4 billion worth of agricultural exports, accounting for 60 percent of the country's total agricultural export revenues.