“Huge Budget” To Boost Davao Oriental’s Agriculture and Tourism

City of Mati, Davao Oriental — Farmers and local traders engaged in agribusiness in the province are “very grateful” to the national government for allocating a huge budget for the construction of the much-needed farm-to-market roads that they says would boost both their farm’s productivity and tourism in the province.

First District Representative Corazon N. Malanyaon

During the recently held first Farmers and Fisherfolk Leaders Summit at the provincial Capitol’s covered court, at least one thousand local farmers and fisherfolk leaders greeted the “welcome news” being revealed to them by Davao Oriental Rep. Corazon Malanyaon who holds a high position in the Appropriations Committee of the House of Representatives. “We have the biggest budget allocation for the construction of farm-to-market roads, especially those roads leading to our fantastic tourist destinations,” Rep. Malanyaon told the farmers and fisherfolk leaders of the province, to which it was greeted with a thunderous applause.

 

Local farmers and business people engaged in agribusiness in the province says they expect their farm output to significantly jump in the coming years amid the new development. Local businesses especially those engaged in tourism also praised the “laudable” convergent efforts between the provincial government and that of Rep. Malanyaon to boost local tourism with the construction of new roads leading to its fabulous ecotourism destinations. “We have already witnessed the rapid transformation of our province. We are now the new beehive of tourism activities in the region. Now we are excited to witness the rapid transformation of our primary resource, which is the land, from idle to productive and sustainable farms,” says one local trader during the summit.

Governor Dayanghirang hands over a plaque of appreciation to First District Malanyaon during the First Farmers and Fisherfolk Summit held at the Provincial Capitol on March 8, 2018.

Gov: DavOr A Goldmine of Opportunities

Davao Oriental Governor Nelson Dayanghirang says that by all indications, Davao Oriental which has the largest land area in the Davao Region and a longest coastline in Mindanao, should be a prosperous province. “Our province has been blessed with more than enough natural resources to become a big player in agriculture. With fertile land and bountiful waters, our beloved province of Davao Oriental is a goldmine of opportunities for agri-entrepreneurs. This is a magnificent reality that we need to take advantage of. It is part of the provincial government’s untiring crusade to encourage our people to plant and grow their own seeds of success through agri-entrepreneurship,” says the governor during the summit. “

Governor Nelson L. Dayanghirang

But the potential of agri-entrepreneurship is yet to be unleashed. This is seen in the fact that the majority of our farmers and fisherfolk who put food on the table still do not enjoy the quality of life that they deserve. We wish to encourage future and present farmers to think like entrepreneurs and uplift their standard of living. It is our goal to inculcate among our people a newfound respect and admiration for agriculture, and see the many opportunities for investment in this vast sector. The provincial government has been firm in promoting and instilling an optimistic and entrepreneurial culture among our people. Through this summit, we would also like to highlight the inspiring success stories of our local entrepreneurs in agriculture and fishery. They have shown that agribusiness can be success, profitable and, above all, rewarding. To our local farmers and fisherfolk, you have our gratitude and utmost respect,” says Governor Dayanghirang.

Climate Change

Governor Dayanghirang, however, stressed that “In a business that is centered on agriculture, one important thing to keep in mind is that this industry is largely dependent on weather and the environment. This is a particular concern with climate change affecting the amount and quality of raw materials. Climate change may be a sobering challenge to agri-businesses but they do not make success impossible. The solution is to be flexible, hardworking and persistent.

Let us create opportunities and strategies to achieve the best for our farmers and fisherfolk. The best, and nothing less. Like free trade, the future holds two leads – the worst for those who chose to lose hope and the best for those who prepared. Let us support the farmers and fisherfolk who are the lifeblood of our communities. The real heart of our program is the drive to bring farmers and fisherfolk out of poverty and to give them the respect that their professions deserve. Kayong mga magsasaka at mangingisda ay mahalaga. We can build our future on agriculture, and we need to work more closely together in order to achieve our desired future for our industry and our country.”

The governor says the provincial government is strengthening the implementation of its flagship program called Pagkain at Kita Sustainable Agriculture and Village Enterprise. His administration aims to achieve sustainable modern agriculture and food security by transforming agricultural communities to reach their full potential, improving farmers’ and fishers’ quality of life, and bridging gaps through public-private partnership. The cornerstones of the program are to provide access to market, rolling out infrastructure; strengthening research and development; organizing farmer and fisher communities and cooperatives; ensuring the quality and consistency of supply; and mitigating the risks brought about by climate change.

 

VILLAR: AGRIBUSINESS A PROMISING PATH TO SUCCESS

Senator Cynthia Villar delivers her keynote message at the first Farmers and Fisherfolk Leaders Summit at the provincial Capitol’s covered court.

Senator Cynthia Villar, who was the summit’s keynote speaker, says the future of agribusiness is unlimited and it is a promising path to success. She told participants that there is no reason to be discouraged when they have nothing to start off with. The senator says the local farmers and fishers can reach heights in the industry when they are armed with an idea that is well thought out, and the willingness to learn what they need to succeed. Senator Villar has urged summit participants to not succomb to the glumness that wraps the general predictions on the economic integration of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The government she says will continue to find the brighter roads to free trade by helping the local farmers prepare for a gigantic economic battle to survive.

She urged them to dream big as the government will help them to efficiently cross the bridge between production and marketing so they will eventually survive the challenges that may confront them. “Our major task is to bring new ways of thinking and farming. Let us play our cards right. The coming year will open up opportunities because with liberalization, our market for agricultural and other products will expand to more than one billion people instead of only one hundred million. If we are ready, we should not be afraid,” says the senator. She says the national government envisages a competitive, sustainable and technology-based agriculture and fisheries sector, driven by productive and progressive farmers and fisherfolk, supported by efficient value chains contributing to inclusive growth and poverty reduction.

Tourism Chief: I Will Do My best To Promote DavOr

Department of Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo, who graced the farmers and fisherfolk summit here, says that with the resplendent landscape and seascape of this wind-swept province that gives an exciting and powerful experience to tourists, “I will do my best to promote Davao Oriental. You have a special place in my heart,” adding that she herself came from Davao Oriental. The tourism secretary says that Davao Oriental being an agricultural province fits for their new program on Farm Tourism. “Ang Davao Oriental ang tutulungan ko. For our farmers and fisherfolk, Farm Tourism is promising here,” says Teo.

The province is now a new beehive of tourism activities. Tourists come in droves to see the province’s most impressive coastal scenery, particularly its awesome and serene beaches and lovely islands. Banking on its magnificent eco-tourism destinations, the local government vows to give its visitors the transformative magic of travel. The national government has declared the whole province of Davao Oriental as a Tourism Development Area. The province’s crown jewel, the Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary is the first and only place in the island of Mindanao declared as a World Heritage Site. The local government funded the development of the province’s top tourism sites. As the tourism business in the province is now flourishing, construction of new hotels and resorts is now sprouting. By Ferdinand Zuasola/Photo by Eden Jhan Licayan

 

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