Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje is urging the public, particularly those residing in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, to support the Agrikultura Trade Fair (ATF) at the Megatrade Halls 2 and 3 of the SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City.
“We have to support rural sector initiatives. By patronizing the goods and services of our farmers and other participants of government programs of DENR, DA and DAR, we are also encouraging our rural communities to be more enterprising, while enhancing the market potential of their farm produce,” Paje said.
Slated on June 24-26, 2011, the trade fair will bring together the best of the country’s agricultural products for sale and exhibit, and to encourage public investments in agribusiness. It is jointly organized by the DENR, Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).
With the theme, “Agraryo, Agrikultura at Kalikasan: A Convergence towards Sustainable Rural Development,” the ATF is expected to draw together farmers, fisher folk and rural women’s organizations; government agencies and financing institutions involved in rural development; non-government organizations; producers and manufacturers of processed food products; and suppliers of packaging materials who will exhibit the best of their goods and services.
The affair is open to the public, who can get their money’s worth out of the exhibitors’ showcase of fresh produce and traditional crops; organic, natural and wellness products; processed foods, wines and beverages; fashion accessories; and furniture, furnishing and home accessories.
Paje said that the ATF will support the DENR’s Community-Based Forest Management (CBFM) program, which pursues agro-forestry, with the participation of invited people’s organizations. It will also support the Aquino administration’s National Greening Program (NGP), which seeks to plant 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares nationwide by 2016.
“The NGP’s ultimate goal is to alleviate poverty especially in our upland communities as they have been categorized as among the poorest of our poor. The success of the ATF will provide a much needed impetus in our efforts for sustainable rural development,” he said.
The trade fair will also provide both the government and the private sector a venue to interact as they complement each other’s efforts in rural development. “Essentially, the ATF, which is part of the convergence initiative of the DENR, DA and DAR, will show how we wish to contribute to the three bottom lines of rural development, which are to increase productivity, increase income, and generate jobs in rural areas,” Paje explained.
Participants and visitors will also be treated to cooking demonstrations, a Habi at Gawa fashion show of farmers’ products, and a presentation on environmental awareness from the DENR’s Teatro Kalikasan.
With the three-day event, the organizers hope to facilitate investments for agribusiness and micro- and small enterprises, as well as conduct learning and knowledge exchange among all participants. Among others, it will also adopt the Aquino administration’s strategy of establishing and strengthening public-private partnerships to hasten rural development.
The participants are also expected to design strategic marketing programs to mainstream farmers’ products, and discuss how farmers can have a sustained access to local markets. PAO, DENR