DAVAO CITY — This year’s Davao Agri Trade Expo (DATE) will bring in farming technology from Israel, Taiwan, and New Zealand to help modernize and boost productivity in Mindanao and the rest of the country.
“The chamber reached out to them because we believe we really need this kind of technology to boost agriculture rather than utilizing traditional practices,” Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (DCCCII) President Arturo M. Milan said in a forum last week.
Technology from these three countries will be presented and discussed during the Innovation Conference on Sept. 21, one of the highlights of DATE 2018 set for Sept. 20-22 at the SMX Convention Center.
Mr. Milan said aside from mechanization and processing techniques, the association is also aiming to push for Internet-based marketing and blockchain applications to finance agribusiness ventures.
“This is really designed for the Philippines… for us to expand our mindset and exposure to what they are doing abroad… considering our number one concern in agriculture in the Philippines and Mindanao is how we can increase productivity,” he said.
He added that while the Department of Agriculture has been investing in mechanization, dependence on carabaos, human labor, and solar drying along highways remains widespread.
DCCCII Vice-President John Carlo B. Tria, who chairs DATE 2018, said the Innovation Conference will also focus on the use of technology to maximize output from small farms, particularly those that have been parcelled out under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.
“The challenge there is how you create productivity even in small farms. In Taiwan and Israel, their farms are small (but) they can even export and compete with big economies. Why? Because they were able to do mechanization on a smaller scale,” Mr. Tria said.
“Now is the best time to talk about technology because our capability to see and understand is also the highest in history. I mean social media and online have made it accessible. It is time that we capitalize on them,” he added.
Blockchain technology firms such as Traxion will also be presenting opportunities for online marketing and financial transactions, especially for high-value fruits and vegetables.
Mr. Tria said blockchain as a platform can also bring together small investors to help fund agricultural ventures.
He added that the association is also expecting higher participation younger people, with many from Davao City expressing interest in agriculture-related businesses such as trading and small resort farms.
“Seeing this demand, we thought of tapping them, again by using technology… I think this is the hope that we are seeing over the last two years. The more young people are involved in agriculture and agribusiness, the brighter the future of agriculture is going to be,” he said.
DATE 2018, the 20th staging of the expo organized by the DCCCII, will highlight the “golden crops” of cacao, coffee, coconut, cassava, corn, rice, banana, and bamboo. — Maya M. Padillo