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PHL-SME stakeholders tackle agro-industrial zone establishment in EAGA sub-region

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The Philippine stakeholders of the Small and Medium Enterprise Development (SMED) and Natural Resources Development (NRD) Clusters of the Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) discussed recently the possible establishment of an agro-industrial zone in the sub-region under the BIMP-EAGA Ford Becket Framework.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Region 9 Director and SMED Cluster Chair Nazrullah B. Manzur, in a convergence meeting in Davao City, said the agro-industrial zone will serve as an area for collaboration where various BIMP-EAGA entities converge to provide the necessary post-harvest and marketing infrastructures to increase the productivity of the food sector.

Manzur said the SMED-NRD Convergence tackled the guiding principles in setting up the economic zone in the sub-region.

He said while the project will help the sub-region further develop its economic potentials, it is important to first analyze well the necessary steps to be taken, especially on how to go about with the implementation.

Manzur said if the Philippines will present the idea of establishing an agro-industrial zone to other member-countries, the first thing to consider is to make an inventory of how prepared the area where the agro-industrial zone in the country will be established.

“We have to evaluate its readiness first. Readiness means infrastructure, facilities, raw materials source, among others,” he said.

Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Executive Director and Philippine-EAGA NRD Cluster Chair Oscar O. Parawan supported Manzur’s statement, saying that the inventory must be prioritized first.

“Let’s look at the existing agro-industrial zones and assess the preparedness and gaps,” he said.

DTI Davao chief for Management Support and Special Concerns Division and BIMP-EAGA SMED Cluster secretariat Romeo L. Castanaga said the proposed agro-industrial zone should be branded as EAGA Zone, and it should provide specific privileges or incentives to interested players. (PNA)




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