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Connectivity key to Mindanao’s agricultural growth

MANILA, Philippines — Improving farm to market connectivity is a key to unlocking the domestic and foreign market potential for Mindanao’s agricultural products, the World Bank said.

In its Philippine Economic Update, the WB underscored the need to address limited connectivity to give farmers better access to markets both within Mindanao and beyond.

“Farmers are disconnected or misconnected with technical service providers, agro-enterprises, markets, and consumers, a problem that has multiple consequences. Many roads are in bad condition or congested, resulting in rejected agricultural produce, especially perishable commodities like bananas and other fruits and vegetables,” it said.

The report said ensuring a seamless logistics network from farm to markets requires investing in village and major roads, promoting competition in the domestic shipping industry, liberalizing cabotage, modernizing the major ports, and streamlining export and import procedures.

“Lowering logistics costs would significantly benefit Mindanao’s agriculture value chains. An efficient logistics system is essential if Min-danao’s potential of becoming a global supplier of basic and value-added produce is to be realized,” it noted.

The World Bank said there is an opportunity to expand the production of exportable agriculture products: aquatic, coffee and coconut products.

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This involves linking farmers more closely with enterprises, as it is primarily agribusinesses that have the opportunity to differentiate or diversify product lines,” it added.

The report pointed out that increasing productivity in Mindanao could reduce prices for food and other goods across the country, and improve the competitiveness of  the agriculture sector.

It further said boosting economic development in Mindanao is essential to reducing poverty and achieving more inclusive growth in the country. – Philexport

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