P1-B Davao Food Exchange Complex to be offered for bidding this year

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 27 April) – The construction of the 20-hectare Davao Food Exchange Complex worth P1.08 billion in Barangay Daliao, Toril will be offered for bidding within the year.

National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) 11 director Maria Lourdes Lim told a press conference on the 2017 Report on the Regional Economy of the Davao Region at the Apo View Hotel Davao Thursday that the National Development Council (NDC) is just preparing the documents for the bidding and construction would commence immediately after a contractor is selected.

The NEDA Board approved on Wednesday the food complex, along with seven other new projects such as the Subic-Clark Railway, Bulacan International Airport, Clark International Airport Expansion Project-Operations and Maintenance, Ambal-Simuay River and Rio Grande de Mindanao River Flood Control Projects, Pasig-Marikina River and Manggahan Floodway Bridges Construction Project, Bridge Construction Acceleration Project for Socioeconomic Development Project, and Rural Agro-Enterprise Partnership for Inclusive Development and Growth (RAPID Growth) Project.

Lim said the project would consist of food processing centers, cold storage/warehousing facilities, trading post, technology/business incubation center, tourism component, agri-aqua culture, and water filtration and bottling facilities.

The food complex, she added, is open to processors of agriculture-based products.

The construction of the entire development would take about two years but coordination between the local government and national government agencies are needed because roads leading to the location of the project would to be paved to entice investors to go there, she said.

A briefer released by NEDA said the project would involve the development, marketing, management, and lease of a 20-hectare NDC-owned property in Toril.

It added that the agri-industrial complex would help promote “rural and value chain development toward increasing agricultural and rural enterprise productivity, rural tourism, and supporting marine-based industries due to the existence of major landing facilities in the area.”

Lim said the region’s combined output of agriculture, forestry and fishery was valued at a total value of P41.4 billion in 2017 but its share to the region’s economic performance was only at 11.2 percent compared to the industry sector at 39.2 percent and and services sector at 49.6 percent.

The region grew at 10.9 percent, the highest in the region’s history, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) 11.

Lim said the agriculture, forestry, and fishery sector rebounded with a positive 1.7 percent growth after the El Niño phenonmen in 2016.

It was only the fishery subsector that recorded a decline of 3.6 percent partly due to the aquaculture at Tagabuli, Sta Cruz, Davao del Sur after a proposed bay rest; decline in the supply of fingerlings for stocking in Davao Occidental; and closed season along Davao Gulf during the third quarter of 2017 contributing to lower fish catch in the region.

Lim said they are optimistic the agriculture sector would further grow this year, although it is still recovering from the extreme drough two years ago. More investments are expected to increase in agriculture with existing and new players eyeing expansions here.

She said agriculture-based industry clusters like cacao, banana, mango, and coconut have revisited their roadmaps. She urged them to value-add on their products by going into processing.

The cacao industry here is also seeing exciting times ahead with the entry of Japanese investors who plan to establish a chocolate processing plant in the region, declared as the country’s cacao and chocolate capital, Lim said.

She said some barangays in the city and surrounding areas have been expanding cacao plantations to cater to the growing demand. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)