“In the face of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) economic integration and the creation of a single regional common market, can Mindanao’s agricultural sector compete with other ASEAN-member states?”
This was the question posed to ACES Polytechnic Colleges President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Francisco P. Dela Pena Jr. during the Pakighinabi Conversation series entitled “Competitiveness of Agriculture and Agribusiness in Mindanao in the ASEAN Market” held at Pakighinabi Room, Community Center last Friday, June 26.
“Competitive tayo. But somebody should teach them [the farmers] right. They should not be taught in a wrong way,” he answered.
Dela Pena emphasized that agriculture, specifically organic farming, is a promising sector not only in Mindanao but also in the country as a whole. According to him, this can be done by bringing the necessary technology in the farms.
The educator-farmer also debunked the idea that organic products are more expensive than the non-organic ones.
“If you are really going to account no, it is still expensive to have cancer and to have all these food-related illnesses than the [organic] food,”dela Pena said, highlighting the safety of consuming organic products.
For Justine Banta, a fourth year AB Economics student, the promotion of organic farming can also have a positive impact for those who people who avails in the health sector.
“I agree with the introduction of Organic Farming kasi nga naglabasan ngayon ang mga sakit kagaya ng mga cancer na galing sa inorganic na mga materials [food products]. Kaya dapat I push siya sa Philippines upang ‘yong cause ng medical health na sector is bababa,” Banta said.
The conversation was presented by Office of the President and the Entrepreneurship Department under the School of Business and Governance. It was participated by faculty members, students and cooperatives.