April 14, 2011
GENERAL SANTOS CITY — A mission to the International Food Exposition (IFEX) scheduled to be held in Metro Manila next month is expected to generate P500 million worth of new investments for Central Mindanao, a regional Department of Trade and Industry official said here earlier this week.
The economic development committee of the Regional Development Council-12 had earlier identified six focus industry clusters as a strategy to further prod economic activity in the area.
Ethel L. Gumana, National Economic Research and Business Assistance Center chief, said in a phone interview that Central Mindanao is among the featured regions in the IFEX, slated to be held on May 12-14 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.
“Our delegates [from the business community] hope to forge joint venture agreements with multinational firms during the business matching activity, ” Ms. Gumana said.
“There will also be project proposals to the different embassies,” she added.
Ms. Gumana said Central Mindanaoâ€™s participation in IFEX is in line with efforts to promote awareness of the regionâ€™s business opportunities.
It also seeks to forge links between project proponents and potential local and foreign investors, as well as funding sources, she added.
“Hopefully, this would lead to the influx of investments in the region and the creation of employment opportunities for the people of Central Mindanao,” Ms. Gumana said.
Also known as Region XII or Soccsksargen, the region consists the provinces of South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani, as well as the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
The six focus industry clusters earlier identified by the regional development council are coffee, muscovado, tourism, processed fish, processed fruits, as well as information and communications technology.
The committee identified the clusters based on their potential market demand, regional coverage and social benefits. Other products that were also recognized to have growth potentials in the region are palm oil, art crafts, crabs, corn, coconut, rice, processed meat and hogs.
Luwalhati R. Antonino, chairperson of the Mindanao Development Authority, had earlier urged Mindanao producers to expand their markets by forging marketing links or trade partnerships.