by maya m. padillo
Fruits from Mindanao may find its way to Indo-nesia once talks between the Philippine and Indo-nesian governments are finalized, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said in interview Monday.
He said before the launch of the Davao-Ge-neral Santos- Bitung RoRo route, he was already talking with his counterpart in Indonesia and the Am-bassador of the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia Johnny Lumintang.
Piñol said Indonesia particularly the North Sulawesi area is eyeing Mindanao fruits for trading.
“Kasi tumaas ang tourism arrivals ng Manado because they now have a direct flight from China. Kulang din sila ng prutas at masama kasi ang lupa nila,” Piñol told Mirror.
Piñol said Indonesia is looking at bananas from Mindanao. He said facilita-ting the entry of fresh fruits in Indonesia is just a matter of two governments ag-reeing on phyto sanitary requirements.
Earlier, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), which is part of the inter-agency task force of the Davao-GenSan-Bitung RoRo said that presently there are some products like fresh fruits restricted in the route.
“Madali lang naman yun, it’s just a matter of the two governments agreeing to facilitate the phyto sanitary requirements. I don’t think it’s going to be difficult. We are dependent also on our Indonesian counterparts,” he said.
He said Indonesia is also looking for Halal chicken from Mindanao. He said they are identifying local and Mindanao producers to ship Halal chicken to Indonesia.
He said the Halal group of the Brunei Indo-nesia Malaysia Philippines-East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) is active and Halal standards are already available.
For the Philippines, Piñol said they are also looking at Indonesia as a source of fertilizers be-cause farm inputs in the country are expensive.
Piñol is also organizing a delegation to North Sula-wesi in September this year.
“I had a talk with Indonesian President Joko Widodo during the launching of the Davao-GenSan-Bitung and told him I will be organizing a delegation to North Sula-wesi para titingnan namin kung ano ang meron doon at ano ang kailangan nila,” he said.
The Davao-GenSan-Bitung route is seen to provide greater access for local businessmen to engage in international trade, is just the first of many more maritime routes to be established in EAGA and in the ASEAN.
It also provides better access for micro, small, and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) from the Auto-nomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and the rest of Mindanao to engage in trade among its counterparts from the BIMP-EAGA particularly its business partners from Indonesia.