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People buy fruits grown from Mindanao | Photo from DA

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has partnered with shipping lines Maersk and MCC Transport Philippines to transport fruits from Mindanao to the National Capital Region (NCR) to make the region’s produce more accessible to Metro Manila consumers.

The Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (AMAS), the DA’s market development and investment assistance and promotion service, collaborated with the two sister carriers to bring fruits such as durian, marang, mangosteen, and lanzones from various areas in Mindanao to the NCR.

For the first shipment—comprising 8 tons of durian and 8 tons of mangosteen from Davao to Manila—Maersk and MCC Transport accommodated the cargo for free.

The shipment was brought from Sasa, Davao City to Manila Port on September 26 through the efforts of DA Regional Field Office in Region 11. The fruits came from the farmers of Durian Industry Association of Davao City (DIADC), said DA in a statement.

DA said the free transportation of fruits was the two shipping lines’ contribution to address logistics needs of the agriculture sector in support of food security and accessibility. The carriers also provided the trucks to pick up and deliver the products from the seaport.

Transporting agricultural commodities by land was one of the challenges faced by the agriculture sector when NCR was placed under enhanced community quarantine in March. DA said this led to several discussions on the importance of government support for marketing and logistics and strengthening of public-private partnerships.

DA said Maersk and MCC Transport offered logistics assistance in inter-island shipment of agriculture commodities to ensure food security and address both food sufficiency and oversupply in certain areas.

The exploratory talks between AMAS and Maersk and MCC Transport began in June 2020. Discussions on special rates for the succeeding shipments of agriculture producers are ongoing.

DA said it will continue to implement policies and develop programs that will help agriculture producers take on more roles in the value chain, including capacitating them to bring their own produce to the market.

READ: Cargo flights set for Mindanao shippers of high-value crops

Earlier, DA’s Field Office in Region 11 also initiated an agreement between DIADC and John Gold Cargo Forwarder to fly high-value crop products from Mindanao to Luzon and the Visayas for a special fee from September 1 to October 1.

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