Agribiz flourishes during COVID

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    The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) sees the potential of the Philippines to expand its agribusiness sector through innovation and new technologies.

    In her presentation at the launch of Agri-Negosyo para sa OFWs last week, Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba said the agriculture sector continues to contribute significantly to the economy and, along with food processing, can spur the development of the country despite the pandemic.

    Aldaba said agriculture contributes about 10 percent to the gross domestic product and employs 10 million workers.

    Exports were valued at $4.4 billion in 2019 consisting of bananas, copra, pineapples, mangoes, mangosteen guavas, coconut vegetable extracts. On the processing side, Aldaba said food manufacturing contributes 10 percent to the economy.

    She said the 63,417 establishments in food manufacturing employ 1.1 million workers.
    Exports of processed food stood at $1.8 billion in 2019 consisting of fruits, nuts, fish, fruit and vegetable juices, bread, pastry cakes, sauces etc.

    “To boost the competitiveness of our agriculture and agribusiness sectors, the DTI is focusing its efforts on integrating agriculture and manufacturing together and has crafted a policy which we call inclusive innovation, industrial strategy,” Aldaba said.

    Spending in agriculture and processing stood about P133.7billion in 2019.

    “There are so many opportunities in the agriculture and food processing or in the agribusiness sector… by using innovation and new techniques,” Aldaba said.

    Among the initiatives undertaken by the DTI towards this goal are access to services like the Negosyo Center and Mentor Me, access to financing such as the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-Aseso; product development such as the One Town, One product and product linkages like Go Lokal.