Negros Oriental Gov. Pryde Henry Teves has assured micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that his new administration will support the business industry to boost economic environment in the province.

As the agriculture and fishery sector is among the major drivers of the province’s economic growth, the governor committed to allocate 10% or P380 million from the provincial budget for agriculture and aquaculture interventions.

To promote the “Buy Local” and “Go OTOP (one town one product program),” Teves provided six units of hauling trucks to deliver  agricultural products or goods from the farms to the market or “paunayan” to address the farmers’ need for more affordable transportation of their produce.

Each of the three districts in the province will be provided two hauling trucks to transport their farm produce including livestock in a bid to boost farm productivity and food sufficiency as well as the farmers’ income.

As the government eases movement restrictions, “people are coming out and more economic activities will take place, we will make sure that what they need, we have to be ready to supply food locally,” said Teves.

During an MSME Development Council (MSMEDC) meeting, Edward Du, co-chairperson of MSMEDC and Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry representative, raised some key challenges and constraints of MSMEs that need support and resolutions through local policies to scale up economic growth in the province.

Du cited some limitations that hinder economic development, such as lack of post harvest facilities, food security and sufficiency, emergency funding, technology and job mismatch, free Wifi in GIDA (geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas), among others.

Teves, with the private sector, will provide free internet services to all barangays as one of his thrusts in the local school board.

He said this is to provide students access to free Wifi and encourage the children to read and do research but with specific designated time of the day and the rest of the community can use it.

While MSMEs seek support from the government for emergency funding in times of calamity,  the governor also encouraged them to avail of the Philippine Rural Development Project, the largest World Bank-funded project, to support agriculture enterprises.

The World Bank gave cash grants to Barangay Liptong Small Coconut Farmers Association (BLISCOFA) to help increase its virgin coconut oil production amid the COVID-19 pandemic.