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Following the committed support for Mindanao’s Fruit Sector, the Mindanao Development Authority is looking at broader areas for cooperation with New Zealand particularly on indigenous community development programs and technical assistance on quality assurance mechanisms for other agri-food commodities.

“Our recent discussion with His Excellency Ambassador Peter Kell presents an important alignment with MinDA’s priority development lenses on inclusive and sustainable partnerships with the tri-people and other farming communities across Mindanao,” MinDA Executive Director Usec. Janet Lopoz said.

In a meeting with MinDA, Ambassador Kell shared some of their programs for the IP communities in Mindanao, including the Uplifting of the Indigenous People’s Women Project in Davao City, along with other livelihood and entrepreneurship programs across Mindanao.

MinDA’s integrated area development program in the four towns of Bukidnon, Impasugong, Talakag, Sumilao and Lantapan or the IMTASULA complex, a major vegetable and high-value crop area is one of the potential points of collaboration with New Zealand.

“The strong in-depth local knowledge and cultures of the IP communities adds great value to the region’s products, and can be further enhanced by food and crop certification protocols,” Lopoz said.

NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and MinDA are pursuing G2G opportunities on trade and export cooperation initially with Mindanao mangoes, and now with potential to expand to other crops including vegetables from IMTASULA.

“MinDA and NZ-MFAT particularly sees the facilitative role of Fonterra’s existing and established global logistics chain system in the early-stage viability assessment of addressing shipment and cold chain infrastructure needs of mango and other potential products from Bukidnon,” MinDA Investment Promotions Director Asec. Romeo Montenegro.

He also explored a potential cooperation on renewable energy projects to boost agriculture value chain, in line with MinDA's energy transition strategies.

Ambassador Kell’s visit also provided an avenue to explore possible partnerships with Bureau Veritas and AsureQuality, New Zealand companies specializing in food quality assurance and with Fonterra Philippines in assessing the establishment of an agri-food and commodities testing facility. This initiative, when pursued could be a follow-through development for Mindanao Collective Trademark (MCT) as an integrated approach to Quality Assurance coordination mechanisms.

The MCT aims to improve global and regional competitiveness of Mindanao agricultural products and facilitate upgrading of production and management systems compliant with globally demanded Voluntary Standards.#

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