Gov’t prodded on farm-to-market links
The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry has urged the government to fast-track the construction of infrastructure projects and improvements on existing ones as these will allow local farmers to cut logistics and spoilage costs and earn more from their produce.
At the same time, these projects will allow end-consumers to enjoy the farm goods at reasonable prices, the PCCI said in a statement.
According to PCCI, the chambers of commerce in South Luzon, in particular, were seeking “physical connectivity of South Luzon to markets through the privatization, rehabilitation, expansion and modernization of the Philippine Railway System traversing Manila to the Bicol region.”
Also being recommended was the “immediate rehabilitation and expansion of the Naga airport; subsidy for the establishment of inter-island missionary routes, and the completion and activation of several sea passenger and trade routes linking several islands of Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan and Batangas, among others.”
“Connector roads are basic to cutting the costs of logistics. The earlier that perishable goods and services from South Luzon are delivered to markets, the lower the costs of spoilage, the lower the borrowing costs, and the earlier the entrepreneurs earn their returns,” PCCI president Miguel B. Varela said.
“Improved transport infrastructures have deep impact on the creation of more jobs, generation of higher incomes in South Luzon and dispersing the benefits of high economic growth to the poor,” he added.
The South Luzon chambers, according to Varela, were urging the government to immediately start the process for plans that were “already on the shelf.” They acknowledge the fact that it often took a certain period before the government could complete the feasibility and engineering studies and then conduct the bidding and awarding of the projects.
This particular proposal is part of a package of recommendations by the South Luzon chambers—representing Regions 4A (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon or Calabarzon), 4B (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan or Mimaropa) and Bicol. All these proposals are aimed at increasing investments and incomes in the agricultural sector, supplying more farm goods to consumers and creating jobs.