The Department of Agriculture (DA) is eyeing Southern Palawan as a gateway in exporting agricultural products, especially vegetables, to some Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia and Brunei considering its proximity to Malaysia as well as the vegetable production in southern municipalities.
During the launching of the Southern Palawan Tabu-an Center in Sofronio Española March 19, DA Asec. Salvador Salacud and Second District Representative Abraham Mitra revealed that Palawan has the potentials to supply vegetable requirements of Malaysian and Brunei markets.
“The mere fact that the Tabu-an Center is already here will catalyze and put into action the productivity side of the program,” Salacud said, adding that offices under the DA “will work hand in hand to ensure that the productivity levels are given the higher response in this tabu-an center.”
According to the DA, Palawan produces 144 tons of vegetables every year. However, he admitted that an annual production of 144 tons is not sufficient to supply products outside the country.
He also mentioned that the agriculture department has not yet conducted a feasibility study on the agricultural products demand of Malaysia and Brunei.
“I think our office, through our commercial trade officers in Malaysia, will be mandated to do initial market surveys. These will serve as indicators of the potential demand,” he stated. The result would be revealed next month, he said.
Mitra, on the other hand, believed that farmers would be helpful in coming up with an excess production to be able to meet the demands in foreign markets.
He added that with the construction of Buliluyan Port, Palawan is getting ready to export goods to its neighboring countries.
“This is what we would like to envision here. Let the Palaweños supply the needed vegetables, poultry, egg, and fish requirements of the demand centers and, as mentioned by Rep. Mitra, we envision the global market of Malaysia and eventually Brunei,” Salacud said.
The assistant secretary, however, explained that, initially, they “would like to be able to sustain and supply the demand of Palawan through the municipalities of Palawan.” Restaurants and hotels in Puerto Princesa City are the top consumers of vegetables from the south.
National offices are set to help Palawan do markets outside of the country and assist in the global arena like Malaysia and Brunei, Salacud mentioned.
Potential agricultural products from Palawan, according to the DA, were ampalaya, squash, mangoes, and goats.