REINFORCED. Senator Cynthia Villar graces the 24th Davao Agri Trade Expo 2022 held at SMX Convention Center in Davao City on Thursday (Sept. 29, 2022). The expo seeks to provide opportunities to build agribusiness, and reinforce collaborations between the government and the farmers and fisher folks of Mindanao. (PNA photo by Che Palicte)

DAVAO CITY – Senator Cynthia Villar said the ongoing Davao Agri Trade Expo 2022 here offers opportunities to further develop agribusiness and fortify the collaboration between the government and farmers in Mindanao.

“I am happy that Davao City Chamber of Commerce is our partner focusing on the agriculture industry in accelerating the development of the agriculture sector in Mindanao,” Villar said in an interview during the launch of the Sept. 29-30 trade expo here Thursday.

Villar noted as the biggest and longest-running agribusiness expo in the region, the event "brings hope and a great opportunity for inclusive growth" on the island, which she describes as the country's biggest potential for agriculture development.

Villar, the concurrent chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, said the expo is also a venue to gather agri-traders, businessmen, and consumers alike to discuss the underlying sociopolitical issues, as well as the latest innovations and technological advancements that are beneficial to the industry.

Dubbed as the “food basket” of the country, Mindanao’s fertile soil accounts for its abundant harvests of a variety of farm products, with the island’s economy contributing more than 30 percent to national trading in agriculture.

“There is always agricultural tourism as a potential venture because there are a lot to see in Davao and the whole of Mindanao,” she said.

She noted that Mindanao is the biggest producer of agri-products in the country, with bananas, coconut, pineapples, other fruits, and nuts comprising the top five export products of the region.

She noted that Davao Region has 18 priority industry clusters: abaca, banana, "bangus"(milk fish), cacao, coconut, durian, information and communications technology, livestock and poultry, mango, mining, renewable energy, rice, seaweeds, tourism, wood, oil palm, rubber, and coffee.

“Thus, prospects for agribusiness here are very bright with growing demand for value-added products and processed food in the domestic and global market,” the senator said. (PNA)