CORON- Palawan farmers and those involved in agribusiness industry are expected to see better and more profitable days.
On July 27- 31, 2015, a meeting of Brunei Indonesia Malaysia Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Agro-Industry Working Group was conducted at Coron Westown Resort attended by more or less 50 head officials/ delegates from member countries. Discussed, among others, the status, issues and concerns affecting the implementation of prior projects under BIMP-EAGA for the agro-industry.
The BIMP-EAGA Business Council (BEBC)-Palawan delegation headed by Mr. Jose Steward Sapalo, representing BEBC Chairman Commodore Nicanor Hernandez, took the opportunity to promote local agricultural products and at the same time raised issues hampering smooth trade between local businessmen and counterparts in Sabah.
Before the meeting ended, Mr. Sapalo and Chairman Datuk Roselan Johar Mohamed of BEBC-Sabah was able to “business-match” a local cooperative in Southern Palawan, the Unlad Multi-Purpose Cooperative, to initially supply 5,000 metric tons of corn to Sabah. Both parties were also exploring potentials of trading Palawan Buko Crab in Sabah—described as the most delicious Buko he ever tasted.
Datuk Roselan also expressed enthusiasm in doing business with Palawan entrepreneurs because the latter is not only interested in exporting products but also importing products from Sabah to Palawan and parts of Mindanao, as well.
“This is why we are strengthening our sea linkages, not only the Palawan-Sabah/Kudat linkages but Palawan-Davao as well,” Sylvestre Sales, International Relations Officer of Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), the national secretariat of P-EAGA explained.
On the other hand, proponents of Agro-Industry Working Group, chaired by Dr. Oscar Parawan of the Philippine Delegation, committed to address trade problems faced by Palawan businessmen by sponsoring a Trade and Marketing of Agricultural Products Training in Puerto Princesa City for members of BEBC-Palawan on the second week of August.
“This is the essence of BIMP-EAGA partnership: to see the economy of our communities developed. We will provide what we can to help and encourage our locals, especially in terms of educating them how to facilitate trade in the region,” Philippines-EAGA Agribusiness Cluster Secretariat Ferdinand Gamorot stated.
“Our cooperatives and entrepreneurs are finally being heard, finally enjoying the benefits as member territory of BIMP-EAGA. We are very happy that Governor (Jose) Alvarez is very serious in standing for our benefits and privileges as member-territory,” Mr. Sapalo said.
Cluster heads were also overwhelmed by the commitment of Gov. Alvarez in bringing Palawan’s support and participation in BIMP-EAGA activities. “Palawan is very visible in almost every BIMP-EAGA activity. No doubt your Governor is seriously pushing forward your economy and is utilizing all available channels to this end,” Mr. Sales noted.
For the past two (2) months alone, four (4) BIMP-EAGA sub regional and in-country activities were held in Palawan.