BOI capacitates Northern Mindanao region industries to craft local roadmaps, challenges stakeholders to transform region into a modern agribusiness economy

The Board of Investments (BOI), the industry development and investments promotion arm of the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI), together with the DTI Regional Office in Northern Mindanao, is capacitating the region’s various industry players, businesses, local government units and government agencies, and concerned stakeholders in a regional conference yesterday (October 13, 2016) in crafting their localized version of national industry roadmaps and achieve further growth and competitiveness.

Dubbed as “Industry Roadmaps and the AEC Gameplan: Roadmaps Localization for Competitiveness”, the regional conference aims to build the capacities of local industries and stakeholders including micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in crafting their localized industry roadmaps aligned with the national industry roadmaps. The conference also aims to discuss the economic opportunities and potentials for local industries and sectors in the Northern Mindanao region and how they can take advantage of the many opportunities with the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) already in place.

Trade Assistant Secretary for Industry Development Rafaelita Aldaba who discussed the Philippines’ new industrial policy and linking local producers to the global value chain (GVC) during the multi sector conference said, Northern Mindanao offers a lot of economic opportunities and potentials given its inherent strengths in the agriculture. “There is no reason for the Northern Mindanao region to be poor. We can transform the region by moving from traditional agriculture into a more modern agribusiness to allow us to confidently participate in global value chains,” Assistant Secretary Aldaba said.

She cited the value chain of Nutella, a global brand of a sweetened hazelnut cocoa spread manufactured by Italian company Ferrero and is sold in 75 countries. “About 250,000 tons of Nutella are produced each year where ingredients such hazel nut, cocoa, sugar, vanilla, and palm oil are globally supplied,” she said adding that Northern Mindanao, being predominantly an agricultural region, can take advantage of the supply opportunity by banking on modernizing its agriculture sector.

In a presentation at the conference by National Economic and Development Authority Region 10 Assistant Director Mae Ester Guiamadel, she said that despite economic growth, poverty in the region remains as reflected in the latest statistics which showed that 4 to 5 out of 10 persons are poor in Northern Mindanao. The region is among with high poverty incidence, 40.9 percent, according to latest figures.

Northern Mindanao’s gross regional domestic product (GRDP) grew by an average of six percent in the 2011-2015 period while the region’s share of manufacturing to GRDP reached 20 percent in 2015, according figures from NEDA Northern Mindanao.

“Disparity in areas and sectors, underperformance of the farm sector, and low quality and seasonality of employment remains a serious challenge of the region,” Assistant Director Guiamadel said.

Bukidnon Governor Jose Maria Zubiri, also the chair of Region 10’s Development Council meanwhile expressed the council’s commitment in leading the crafting of the region’s roadmaps. He said he will call the heads of the six provinces’ active participation in the formulation of the region’s roadmaps and thus uplift the lives of the people in the region.

“The level of development of our industries would determine the role they will play in the GVC. Our new industrial policy and roadmap implementation are necessary to ensure effective and sustainable integration of all enterprises in the national, regional, and GVCs. Competitiveness is key – scale economies, cold storage and transport, continuous improvements in productivity and quality, cost efficient packaging, and timely logistics,” she said.

Former Dean of the University of the Philippines School of Economics Dr. Ramon Clarete meanwhile discussed Regional Integration and the National Development Agenda and how MSMEs can be competitive and take advantage of the already integrated ASEAN market and existing free trade agreements.

“We can bring our efforts together by taking advantage of such opportunities to fully recover from the slump and eventually sustain the region’s economic performance and ensure that its benefits are felt by everyone,” she said. “It is in this context that the stakeholders in the region should continue with great resolve to take on the challenges of revitalizing and diversifying the sectors of agriculture and create more and better quality jobs for its people,” Assistant Secretary Aldaba said.

Consultation meetings among the agri clusters on coffee, coco coir, cacao and bamboo followed after the multisector conference on industry roadmaps. Facilitated by the DTI Regional 10 Office, the consultation meetings are expected to pave the way for crafting of the region’s cluster roadmaps.

The localization of roadmaps in Region 10 focused on agriculture-based products knowing the potentials for growth in this sector which can be aligned and linked with the national industry roadmaps. Presenting the industry situations and potentials for growth in these sectors are resource persons from the private and government sectors namely: DTI 4A Assistant Regional Director Marcelina Alcantara for coconut; DTI CAR Regional Director Myrna Pablo for coffee; Former Science Undersecretary Dr. Florentino Tesoro for bamboo; and DTI Region 10 Division Chief Engr. Arnold Yap for rubber.

The Industry Roadmapping Program is BOI’s program in partnership with various industries and sectors in the development and implementation of industry roadmaps. An Industry Roadmap assesses an industry’s performance, opportunities, and challenges, outlines the vision, goals and objectives, strategies, timelines, and various interventions it needs to be globally-competitive. The roadmaps are crafted and implemented by the industry players themselves with the guidance of the BOI as well as other government agencies. To date, there are already 42 sectoral roadmaps submitted to the BOI. Of this number, 34 roadmaps have been completed and are currently being implemented or for implementation, while the rest are still subject to enhancement/finalization.

The BOI has been going around the country since last year to encourage localization of roadmaps in the regions especially those industries that are dominant or thriving in the area and its alignment and linkage with the national industry roadmaps. BOI, in coordination with the DTI regional offices, conducted nine regional conferences in Iloilo, Cebu, Davao, Baguio, Tagaytay, Pampanga, Zamboanga, Palawan and Naga in 2015. This year, regional conferences were held in La Union for the Ilocos Region, in Tugegarao for the Cagayan Valley Region, and Tacloban City for the Eastern Visayas Region, Butuan for Caraga, and General Santos City for the Soccsksargen region.

Source: Philippine Information Agency