Model Agro-industrial Infrastructure Systems Summary

To further strengthen the microeconomic foundation of the agricultural economy of the Philippines, the establishment of structures or orders that can create and absorb employment, improve production efficiency, and provide guidance to local level economies, particularly the rural economies of the country, will be highly necessary. These structures must be established in such forms as (1) transport and communications systems, (2) processing and market infrastructure systems, (3) regional and provincial rural-industrial parks, and (4) supply and management of technology systems. Furthermore, these structures must apply functional and precise management and operating systems that will contribute to efficiency. The integrated system shows the importance of establishing and maintaining model agro-industrial infrastructure systems that will propel economic growth through the application of sound technology and prudent management strategies.

This planning work desires to provide investors, policymakers, entrepreneurs, and students of development planning and management with concrete conceptual business development framework how the support infrastructure systems must be established and maintained within the context of the country’s agro-industrial modernization agenda. The work presents eight separate projects as investment opportunities.

Chapter 1 is about the establishment of Rural-Industrial Parks in strategic areas of the country to provide the zonal planning dimensions to the country’s agro-industrial resources and to disperse investments away from the country’s major industrial cities. Under the initiative by the local government units, which have corporate powers and authorities to shape up rural industrialization and to create decent employment opportunities for the people, the park will attract investors to explore business opportunities in line with improving food production, food handling and processing, manufacturing of tools, equipment, and agricultural production inputs, and conducting support business services related to agriculture and fisheries. The park must reflect the overall agricultural modernization agenda of the region it has to serve or exert impact and influence. Interests and concerns of universities, government agencies, and the private sector will be all mutually addressed in the park.

Chapter 2 proposes Filfoods.com as a marketing network of food products and other goods and services using modern information and communications technology. The project aims to put into business operation integrated electronic shopping and courier services catering to the needs of the Filipino population in foreign countries. Under this system, Filipino food products will be purchased through the internet, through telephone guided by print catalog, through authorized outlets, and even by mail. The proposal has also on-line duty free shopping as one of the components. The integrated electronic marketing and courier services will greatly rely on synchronized and well-coordinated services by the courier and the on-line marketing systems.

Chapter 3 is about the establishment of the FarmDepot.com business project, a network of warehouse stores and satellite stores of agricultural inputs and machinery. This network of farm machinery and input supply warehouse stores will showcase the most modern technologies affordable to farmers and fishermen. Through direct handling and under private management, farmers, fishermen, and food processors are exposed to the most advanced farming, fishing, and processing equipment at a very reasonable cost. The do-it-yourself approach to selling under one roof is also an alternative technology transfer strategy. The Farm Depot.com is designed to be co-owned by farmers, fishermen, and private investors, with the government, if so necessary, providing the needed capitalization for their shares through a guarantee financing scheme.

Chapter 4 proposes a network of Food Network stores that will be able to provide a vertically integrated system of agricultural production, processing, and marketing. The services are packaging, handling and transport, retailing, and even exporting. The Food Network integrated processing and marketing services will be established as trading centers, warehouses, cold storage plants, processing centers, and mostly outlet stores in strategic areas. These facilities will be managed under one system. The Food Network will have direct links with producers and processors to maintain product standards. The Food Network business units will also use similar ownership principle as the Farm Depot.com

Chapter 5 is about the establishment of Greenhouse Farm Subdivision as planned settlement project that will be made very productive by employing modern agricultural technologies particularly greenhouse and soilless crop cultivation systems, which will be used as a profitable business venture to partly recover investment or amortize the loan for what could have been a non-earning investment like housing. Another possible option is to use the farm subdivision as a training farm and resort for tourism purposes. This business concept is being proposed to transform agricultural lands to be more productive using modern technology and management and at the same time to diversify their uses. Retirees and urban professionals, therefore, will become active in agricultural modernization and tourism development of the country.

Chapter 6 proposes an alternative plan for the rehabilitation of the Luzon sector of the Philippine National Railways. The goal of the project is to contribute to modernizing the country’s transport system for socio-economic modernization by rehabilitating the old lines of the Philippine National Railways. The Philippine railway system will operate as different corporate subsidiaries. These subsidiaries to be formed through the private sector and government collaboration are railway line operation, locomotive and coach service, commercial terminal operation, cargo handling, travel and tourism, and housing and livelihood for relocation purposes. Integrated grains centers, oil milling centers, sugar milling centers, integrated food terminals, fish ports, and other agro-industrial communities, must be conveniently served by the railway system.

Chapter 7 proposes a model that will transform a traditional fish port into an integrated technology park. The proposal will lay down the conceptual framework for the transformation of the country’s premier fish port, the Navotas Fish Port community, into planned community applying state-of-the-art technology in land reclamation engineering, urban planning, housing and building construction, waste management, fish processing, hotel, and restaurant management, integrated cargo handling, railway engineering, leisure and recreation, multi-level parking, and information and communications technology. The fish port community will be known as the Navotas Waterfront Technopark. It will become a planned community where fishermen, workers, entrepreneurs, tourists, and the tow working and living harmoniously. The natural waterfront and land resources of Navotas will be therefore transformed into a better place to live and work.

Chapter 8 proposes a working model for the establishment and operation of public markets for local government units and other private groups to follow. More specifically, the proposal suggests strategies on how public markets will be established and owned without relying on uncertain government appropriations. Furthermore, the proposal incorporates advancements in construction technology, telecommunications and information systems, and food handling and packaging systems, which will be used in the establishment and operation of public markets in the Philippines. The modern public markets for the Philippines must give emphasis on the importance of institutional development in the management of public markets. All the stakeholders in the public market system, which include stall owners, ambulant vendors, traders, and the government must be properly educated on the use of facilities. Service is very important so that vendors and stall owners must be properly trained to deliver quality products and services. to customers.

Finally, the planning work puts a higher emphasis on greater private sector participation because the role of the government will be limited only to being the catalyst and guiding leader of national development. Every peso of government investment must be repaid back for reinvestment in future projects. On this basis, efficiency in managing infrastructure projects is very essential. The proposed model infrastructure projects for agro-industrial modernization are all in line with maximizing return for every peso worth of investment.

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