Senator Cynthia A. Villar has stressed that agriculture in Mindanao brings hope and great opportunity for the region’s inclusive growth.
The chairperson of the Senate Agriculture and Food committee sees Mindanao Island as the country’s biggest potential for agriculture development.
During her speech at the 24th Davao Agri Trade Expo (DATE) held in this city, Villar acknowledged the Mindanao business community has always been at the forefront of the region’s annual trade expo.
The expo, Villar said, helps boost the country’s economic recovery amidst the pandemic.
“I am happy that Davao City Chamber of Commerce is our partner focusing on the agriculture industry in accelerating the development of the agriculture sector in Mindanao,” said Villar.
She emphasized that Mindanao is the country’s biggest producer of agri-products with banana, coconut, pineapple, other fruits, and nuts comprising the top five export products of the region.
Villar related that Davao Region has 18 priority industry clusters: abaca, banana, bangus, cacao, coconut, durian, ICT, livestock and poultry, mango, mining, renewable energy, rice, seaweeds, tourism, wood, oil palm, rubber, and coffee.
“Thus, prospects for agribusinesses here are very bright with growing demand for value-added products and processed food in the domestic and global market,” she said.
In recognition of Davao as country’s biggest producer of cacao and its vital contribution in making the Philippines world-renowned and much-sought after by chocolate makers from the U.S., Japan, and Europe, Villar authored Republic Act No. 11547 which declared Davao City as “Chocolate Capital” and Davao Region as “Cacao Capital” of the Philippines.
Based on the latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Davao Region produces around 78.76 % of the annual production of cacao in the Philippines.
“I know the importance of cacao that provides livelihood to farmers in the countryside to guarantee the sustainability of the country’s cacao industry, particularly here in Davao to ensure food security, employment opportunities, and better income for our people,” Villar emphasized.
“There is also always agricultural tourism as a potential venture because there are a lot to see in Davao and the whole of Mindanao,” she added.