Agribusiness gets bulk of P6 billion BIMP commitments

Oct. 28, 2014

DAVAO CITY – Potential investments worth P6 billion committed from the business matching activity of the 2nd Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines (BIMP) – East Asean Growth Area (EAGA) and Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand (IMT) – Growth Triangle (GT) Trade Fair and Business Leader’s Conference will be in agribusiness.

Romeo Montenegro, director for Investment Promotions and Public Affairs of the Mindanao Development Authority, said that majority of the potential investment, would go to the putting up of coffee, oil palm and coconut plantation and processing plants in several areas in Mindanao.

But For Sonny Africa, executive director research think tank Ibon Foundation, “the likely reason that they, especially Malaysians and Indonesians, are so interested is because palm oil has already caused so much deforestation, habitat destruction and community displacement in their countries.”

Montenegro said there are about 11 projects that were matched during the activity.

These include  coffee plantation in Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, an IT (Information Technology) park in General Santos City, South Cotabato, Corn processing plant in Banga, South Cotabato, a coconut palantation in Davao del Sur and a warehouse in Parang, Maguindanao.

Investments in oil palm plantations were also targeted in General Santos City, North Cotabato, Davao City and Bukidnon.

As to the oil palm plantation for Davao City, Montenegro said that “Initial past surveys indicated hilly terrain in previously targeted areas in Paquibato and Marilog, hence, there is need to identify other viable areas.”

Oil palm plantaion will start with 5,000 hectares in Maramag, Kalilangan and Dansolihan in Bukidnon.

Montenegro said the expansion of oil palm plantations is most likely based on the “expanding demand in the domestic market.”

“Almost 60 percent of oil in grocery shelves is palm oil and Malaysia is expanding its presence to serve our domestic Market,” he said.

But for IBON’s Africa, “They want to expand in Mindanao not just to profit from its land resources but also to export the ecological damage and social impact. These plantations will mainly benefit foreign firms and their local corporate partners.”

Africa said these companies “will use the illusion of community development with schools, clinics and small infrastructures to cover up the plunder of Philippine resources and exploitation of Filipino farmers and farm-workers.”

Meanwhile, Montenegro said that there is the “global rise in consumption of chocolates because of a rising middle class in all economies” and because the production in Western African countries has been decreasing.

“Lately there is Ebola but before that there is pests and conflict and decreasing demand in Europe because of the issue of child labor,” he said.

Montenegro said that the global demand for cacao is at 4.7 metric tons and the Philippines is only exporting 20,000 metric tons.

The country currently in the lead is Indonesia exporting 500,000 metric tons of dried cacao beans per year.

He said that cacao thrives in Coconut plantations and they have already identified 1 million hectares of Coconut plantation in Mindanao.

Cacao and Coffee, said Montenegro, is classified as “trees” under the National Greening program of the government.

Montenegro, however, clarified these “are not agreements” but “investment leads.”

“What we have provided is an opportunity to meet with partners,” said Montenegro.(

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