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The province of Ilocos Norte is prepared to host an agro-industrial economic zone.

The municipal administration of Piddig, Ilocos Norte, is preparing to host an Agro-Industrial Economic Zone to facilitate economic possibilities and provide jobs for the community.

Piddig Mayor Eduardo “Eddie,” Guillen said in an interview Wednesday that the creation of a special economic zone will help spur rural progress in the area, including nearby towns and cities, once fully developed, thanks to a public-private partnership agreement with the business sector, local government unit, and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA).

Guillen said Piddig town can offer an initial 25 hectares in Barangay Maruaya that will be covered under the Forest Land Use Plan following a recent virtual conference with members from PEZA and Go Negosyo.

It can be used as a production area for foreign investors in collaboration with the Piddig Basi Multi-purpose Cooperative for the export of high-value crops such as fancy rice, tobacco, coffee, garlic, shallots, and other high-value crops.

According to Guillen, a cooperative-led, business-to-business deal has the potential to enhance the province’s global market reach.

“Value-added products are what we need to create inclusive growth,” he remarked.

He believes that if a special economic zone is established, it will entice more investors to participate in public and partnership agreements, as well as provide tax benefits from the government.

Recently, the Piddig government’s Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO) has been actively encouraging its organized farmers to let their local cows be inseminated with wagyu semen in the future, resulting in world-class grade meat products.

At least 96 cows and heifers in 19 barangays had been inseminated as of January 31.

After a successful artificial insemination campaign, these are expected to give birth to a wagyu crossbreed after nine months.

Once a local farmer with a native cow enrolls in the program, the owner is guaranteed free insurance coverage from the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation, as well as free artificial insemination, vitamins, and dewormers from the municipal government the Department of Agriculture, among other benefits.

“Because work is their only counterpart, our farmers will benefit the most from this attempt.” Guillen stated, “We will supply everything they need to make our programs function.”

Other municipalities in the province of Ilocos Norte, such as Marcos, Burgos, Vintar, and Pinili, have expressed interest in participating in the artificial insemination program, which aims to improve meat output for both local and international markets.

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