MinDA taps Filipino-Americans for high value exports to US

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Officers and representatives of Filipino-American communities offer to help market Mindanao products during a visit last week in Davao, where they met with officials of the Mindanao Development Authority and the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. MinDA.

DAVAO CITY — The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) is tapping Filipino-American communities in the US to help expand the market for Mindanao agricultural products.

MinDA, in a statement over the weekend, said the plan was hatched following a visit last week by representatives of the Davao Association USA (DAUSA), led by the group’s president, Fernandico Gonong Jr., and the Filipino-American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA).

“We have to identify potential MinDA coordinating officers based in LA (Los Angeles) who are willing to represent the interest of Mindanao, as well as to promote our products in various trade and business activities there,” MinDA Chair Emmanuel F. Piñol said.

MinDA’s International Relations and Investment Promotions team and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will map out how carry out the plan.

Among the identified products that could be initially exported are frozen bangus, frozen durian, and tablea.

Among the Mindanao agricultural goods already being exported to the US are cacao products such as chocolate and coconut products.

“We have the largest concentration of Filipinos in the US and this bayanihan for Mindanao products is really promising,” Mr. Gonong was quoted as saying in the statement.

The export program, he said, will need to have “a strong e-business platform in addition to the house-to-house delivery.”

Mr. Piñol, in an earlier interview with BusinessWorld, said one of MinDA’s priority initiatives is helping farmers and manufacturers expand their markets.

“We need new markets that will welcome our products at premium prices,” he said. — Carmelito Q. Francisco