Issue of February 9, 2020
     
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Agriculture chief affirms bamboo as high-value crop
by DA release

Pursuant to the intensified promotion of the bamboo industry, Agriculture Sec. William Dar made a policy pronouncement declaring bamboo as a high-value crop.

“We need to bring together efforts in sustaining and making the environment resilient, while at the same time enhancing the economic activities of the sector,” Dar said during a meeting of the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council (PBIDC), Feb. 6 at the Department of Agriculture.

“With bamboo as a high-value crop, we can undertake various interventions that include research, processing and value-adding, and budgetary support, complementing the programs and projects of the PBIDC,” said Dar.

“Starting this year, we will have some activities lined up to support the advancement of the bamboo industry,” he added.

Present during the meeting were Trade and Industry Sec. and PBIDC chair Ramon Lopez and PBIDC vice-chair and House Deputy Speaker, Ilocos Sur Rep. DV Savellano.

They shared respective updates on the guidelines on the development of commercial bamboo plantation areas, a draft bill on developing the country’s bamboo industry, and formulation of technical working groups for bamboo production and marketing.

Dar said the DA’s new agri-industrial strategy under the “new thinking for agriculture” looks not only at enhancing farm productivity, but also at developing more value-added products so that farmers and their families are provided with more business and employment opportunities, and thus more incomes.

“We need to tap the power of technology to mass propagate bamboo. It would be good if the PBIDC can look at opportunities in providing funding support for bamboo tissue culture to address the lack of planting materials needed to rejuvenate the country’s bamboo industry,” Dar said.

He also cited the importance of inviting more Filipino and foreign investors to set up tissue culture facilities and engage in bamboo production and processing.

“Let’s not concentrate on doing it within the government only. If there is a business opportunity, and tissue culture could be one business opportunity for bamboo, then let’s pursue this,” he said.

Lopez agreed, saying: “May technology nagamitin na natin. Let us invite the investors para malakihan na.”

“The new strategy is to bring in the private sector and partner with communities and farmers’ groups so that we can elevate the business and income opportunities for the Philippine bamboo industry,” Dar concluded.


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