Tag Archives: indigenous people

Malaysian palm oil firm planning to invest $1 billion in Agusan del Sur

BusinessWorld Online
November 22, 2016

A MALAYSIAN COMPANY is planning to invest an initial amount of $1 billion to build plants to process palm oil in Agusan del Sur, according to an official from the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA).

PEZA Director-General Charito B. Plaza said Alif Agro-Industrial, Inc. is looking for 128,000 hectares in Agusan del Sur which would be used as agricultural economic zones.

“$1 billion ang initial nila kasi (is their initial investment because) they’ll put up refinery plants to process the palm oil,” she told reporters on the sidelines of a Nov. 17 event.

Ms. Plaza said the land will be in ancestral domain areas, which is “good” for indigenous people who have been fighting for their rights.

“What we are doing now to accommodate the 128,000 hectares is we talked to the Department of Trade and Industry, and the local government and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples. We are talking with the clans of these owners of these ancestral domains. They already signed a contract or a memorandum of understanding that these will be converted to special eco zones for the palm oil industry.”

Ms. Plaza noted the Philippines is currently importing around five million tons of cooking oil.

She said that they are currently studying the country’s imports with an emphasis on looking for possible crops that could be planted in the economic zones. This would contribute to minimizing the country’s overseas purchase of goods while boosting its export capacity.

Ms. Plaza, who took over the post after former PEZA Director-General Lilia B. De Lima retired earlier this year, is a former representative of Butuan.

PEZA is preparing to introduce changes in the way the government seeks investments, as it explores opening up economic zones for other sectors such as that of national defense.

Moreover, Ms. Plaza said PEZA is making a pivot towards attracting Middle Eastern investors that represent a lot of untapped potential.

This new focus, she said, is because PEZA has previously been occupied with seeking investments from Western and non-Muslim states, when in fact, the Middle East is “where the money is.” — Roy Stephen C. Canivel

Mindanao eyed as coffee hub

July 3, 2014
Gold Star Daily

THE Philippine Coffee Board Inc. (PCBI) eyes Mindanao to be the coffee hub of the country, PCBI officials said in an interview Tuesday.

PCBI co-chair Pacita U. Juan said this shift to Mindanao as the coffee hub for the country is pushed by increasing land value in Luzon particularly in areas of Cavite and Batangas provinces.

“When land value is increasing, the crops should go to place where the land value is cheaper,” Juan said citing the southern Philippines offers lowest value of land.

Aside from the land value, farms in Cavite are now more utilized for other agricultural products like fruits; thus harvest of coffee beans in the said area is declining.

“Benguet is already getting too much attention. We are now shifting it to the south,” she added.

PCBI chair Nicholas A. Matti, likewise, noted that the potential of the coffee farms in Mindanao are not yet maximized, producing only 17,000 tons of coffee.

He said that making Mindanao as the coffee hub will help around 40,000 farmers who are mostly indigenous people.

Mountains in Mindanao, where coffee farms are situated, also have more accessibility through different provinces; making coffee farming more inclusive.

In order to further develop the coffee industry in Mindanao, more roasting facilities should be provided in these areas.

According to Matti, provinces of Negros, Cotabato, and Zamboanga have thriving roasting businesses.

Moreover, the coffee industry is a growing sector as there is 3.0 to 5.0 percent annual growth in demand of robusta coffee while roasted and ground coffee demand has an annual growth of 10 to 15 percent.

Meanwhile, the PCBI will bring its annual coffee summit in Davao City on Oct. 13-17 to further boost the coffee industry in Mindanao.