The sub-regional economic co-operation initiative Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East-ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) has identified five primary agricultural crops and two priority projects to fund and support to accelerate common economic development.
The primary agricultural crops are rice, coconut, cattle, seaweed, and shrimp, and the two projects are organic aquaculture and the establishment of Halal or Islamic dietary laws.
They were identified on Thursday, January 25, during the BIMP-EAGA’s 2018 first quarter meeting in Zamboanga City.
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Assistant Regional Director Roberto Abrera said the latest development in the cooperation initiative of the four nations is an advantage not only to the country but to Palawan since seaweeds and shrimps (sugpo) are “national priorities” in fishery and agriculture.
“Shrimp, locally known as sugpo, along with tilapia and bangus, is among the national fishery priorities of the BFAR under the Department of Agriculture (DA),” Abrera told Palawan News.
Abrera explained that BFAR will focus its initiatives and programs on the development of the priority commodities as high-value export commodities.
“We are now waiting for project proposals regarding these identified crops. One suggestion was the production of ready-to-cook seaweed noodles, which Sen. Loren Legarda is also supporting,” he said.
Organic aquaculture, he added, is a method for farming marine species in line with organic principles. Halal, on the other hand, is expected to grow in parallel to the growth of Muslim populations, particularly in the three nations that are highly comprised by them.
“The most important intervention and aspect of this are to fund the proposal to make it happen on the ground,” Abrera stated.
He noted that it was nice that the priorities are somehow aligned with their agency’s existing programs.
Shrimp which is among the identified priority products are also being developed and supported by BFAR.
“Sa ngayon, mas wino-work out pa natin kung paano mas ma-develop itong mga produktong ito as an export commodity to support BIMP-EAGA,” he said.