El Nido Municipal Mayor Nieves Rosento has urged their neighboring towns in northern Palawan to develop their agriculture sector as food suppliers for its booming tourism sector.
“We’re not competing with each other. Don’t insist to be a tourism-based economy when in fact your strength lies in an agriculture-based economy. Focus on that and let’s boost our economies together,” Rosento said in an interview with Palawan News.
With its limited source of locally produced agricultural products, El Nido has been depending on food supplies brought from outside the town to support its needs. A town of only around 36,000 local population, its economy is mostly based on tourism.
Municipal Tourism Officer Arvin Acosta said the local food production just cannot keep up with the growing number of people to feed, especially with each tourist staying for an average of three days.
“The food production in our town cannot sustain its growing population” brought on by the influx of tourists, whose number hit 124,000 in 2016, he said in a previous interview.
Rosento, however, sees this situation as an opportunity for other neighboring towns to beef up their agriculture sector.
“I told them to divert their attention instead in strengthening their agriculture industry, and to convince their constituents to supply us with agriculture products rather than leaving their town to find a job in El Nido,” she added.
Currently, Acosta said most of the goods, like vegetables and even poultry, being sold in El Nido’s public market are from the neighboring towns of Taytay and Roxas, and sometimes as far as Puerto Princesa City.