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PIA Press Release

DA assistance to food agribusiness sector continues - Yap

by Rutchie Cabahug-Aguhob

Cagayan de Oro City (2 May) -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) will continue to extend the appropriate assistance, be it technical, infrastructure, policy, marketing or logistic support, to realize the shared goals and vision of lasting peace and economic prosperity in Mindanao.

This was the assurance of Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap to the delegates of the recently concluded 3-day Mindanao Agri & Food Congress 2007 (MAFCON '07) held in Cagayan de Oro City.

In a statement read by Undersecretary Jesus Emmanuel Paras, Secretary Yap who failed to make it to the convention due to previous commitments commended the Chamber of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Industries of Northern Mindanao (CAFFINORMIN) and other co-organizers for convening the MAFCON '07.

"Once again, we are privileged to support and take part in this initiative to further spur Mindanao's economic development which is undeniably anchored on the agriculture and fishery sector," the Agriculture Secretary said.

He also said the convention gathered various stakeholders to discuss strategies to further prop up Mindanao's competitiveness, at the same time, attract more investments in agribusiness and in other related sectors.

Along this line, Yap said, he has ordered the establishment of a Philippine Agribusiness Lands and Investments Center (PhilAgriBiz) at the DA Central Office in Diliman, Quezon City to become the center of information and intermediation concerning available agribusiness lands and corresponding agribusiness investments.

"The PhilAgriBiz Center will provide investment facilitation services to investors and advisory to entrepreneurs seeking to utilize or maximize private farmlands," he said.

Meanwhile, Yap said DA will soon establish a Php50-million meat inspection laboratory in General Santos City, as it gears up to exporting pork, initially to Singapore, and later to other countries in the Asia-Pacific Region.

As it is, DA is putting in place the needed systems to comply with Singapore's stringent requirements, which include the implementation of a Farm Inspection System and an assurance that Mindanao pork is free from veterinary drug residues.

"We, therefore, enjoin the concerned hog industry stakeholders to contribute their share in realizing this initiative and thus optimize the competitive edge of Mindanao, as a major source of quality pork and meat products, being a Food and Mouth Disease (FMD)-free zone per recognition by the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) or World Organization for Animal Health," Yap said.

Mindanao, including the Visayas, Palawan and Masbate, have remained FMD-free for the past eight (8) years and DA is in the final phase of totally eradicating FMD in Luzon, where the last reported outbreak was in December 28, 2005.

"Let us therefore remain vigilant to maintain said status through the remaining months of the year. Thereafter, in January 2008, we will submit our application to OIE declaring Luzon as FMD-free and OIE will review our application during its annual conference in May 2008, in Paris, France," he said.

Let's all hope that we would finally obtain the log sought-after OIE-recognition, as it would open the doors and greatly boost exports of Philippine meat products, Yap added. (PIA 10) [top]

|«  prev  next  »|
»Shellfish ban lifted in Region 8, still imposed in 5 areas of RP
»DA assistance to food agribusiness sector continues - Yap
»Northern Mindanao remains peaceful and orderly - PNP
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