FBA Issue 23: November / December 2008
Agrilink, Aqualink & Foodlink 2008 
by Gemma C. DELMO
Addressing Agrilink, Aqualink and Foodlink 2008 held from October 9 to 11 at the World Trade Centre (WTC) Pasay City, Manila, Philippine president gave the fair its keynote speech.  Putting emphasis on the fair's theme "Sustaining Agricultural Growth through Market Niches", the President underscored the importance of transforming non-mainstream products into valuable niche market segments. "This means thinking out of a box, raising the bar, going a notch higher if we must in order to satisfy our discriminating local and foreign markets," she said.
Arroyo emphasized that niche markets of non-conventional products such as indigenous vegetables malunggay (horseradish) and katuray (corkwood tree flower); vermimeal or animal feed meal from earthworms, cultivation of pangasius catfish, goat's milk soap, and civet coffee among others have large potentials and can be remarkably developed to further sustain the country's agricultural growth. Arroyo also lauded thriving mariculture parks or the zoning of seas for fish farming in response to the declining catch of captured fisheries. She also urged the agribusiness community to shift their sights to other capitalist markets like China and the Middle East in the light of the US economic woes.
The Foundation for Resource Linkage and Development (FRLD) president Antonio Roces proudly said that the attendance consisted of 257 companies, of which 47 of them are foreign firms represented by 18 countries. This year's show also had the participation of the Philippine Department of Agriculture, occupying at least 140 square meters of the exhibit area.
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