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Biz group eyeing talks with gov’t on logistics

The Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry is planning discussions both with the Departments of Agriculture and Trade and Industry on how to improve local logistics systems.

In a press statement, John Carlo B. Tria, chamber president, said Wednesday that the discussions with the agencies can center on how to “build strong logistics networks and infrastructure such as cold storage facilities which will help farmers and consumers.“

“Having better logistics helps farmers by minimizing the volatility in prices since excess produce need not go to waste or drive down prices as they can be stored.” Tria said.

He also welcomed the call of Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar’s move to prioritize farm-to-market roads and other logistics facilities as a way of ensuring better flow of food supply between the farms and the consumers and ensure that these supplies command better prices for the farmers.

“Right now demand for food will grow as our economy grows. It is ensuring the right volumes of supply and getting these to the consumers that will be important,” said Tria said, pointing out that Mindanao needs these facilities as it supplies “about 40% of the country’s food supply, and where prices of commodities are often lower than the rest of the country. This will allow food to get to consumers quickly and cheaply.”

He added that to intensify the putting up of these facilities, the government can embark on private-public partnerships.

He added that better supply inventory as well as stable prices will allow other industries like those in services to be competitive. “If food prices go up, so will the cost of eating in restaurants and tourism establishments, which may make them less competitive,” he said.

“For this reason we are open to dialogue with the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Trade and Industry to help build strong logistics networks and infrastructure such as cold storage facilities which will help farmers and consumers. Having better logistics helps farmers by minimizing the volatility in prices since excess produce need not go to waste or drive down prices as they can be stored.” he said.

On Friday, Dar issued his first order for the year for the establishment of a framework that will focus on how to industrialize the agricultural sector, including the prioritization of logistics facilities that will benefit the agricultural producers.

“I have directed all DA-Regional Field Offices (RFOs), bureaus, attached agencies and corporations, DA-OSEC units, and foreign- and locally-assisted projects to adopt appropriate approaches and principles as we implement our programs based on our ‘new thinking for agriculture’ and its eight paradigms,” said Dar in a statement.

He said the agency will focus on improving national agricultural logistics systems both to address the flow of supply as well as reduce transportation distribution costs, including those products for exports.

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