Friday, June 26, 2009
RP to further develop palm-oil industry, surveys suitable farms.
The Philippines is now eyeing to further develop the local palm-oil industry starting with the survey of farmlands suitable to palm-oil plantations in Bukidnon.
This was disclosed by Jesus Arranza, member of the Philippine Coconut Authority’s (PCA) governing board and incoming president and chief executive officer of the CIIF Oil Mills Group.
“The PCA is set to conduct a topographic survey of around 100,000 hectares of farmlands in Bukidnon. This way, we have something to show investors in terms of where they can locate,” Arranza told reporters in a briefing in Quezon City yesterday.
Arranza said the survey is part of a program approved by the PCA three months ago. He, however, could not say how much money was allocated to the initiative.
The PCA is looking for “contiguous farmlands” as it would be costly for investors to locate plantations and mills in different areas, Arranza explained.
“You have to process palm immediately because delaying the processing would affect the quality of the oil,” Arranza added.
The incoming CIIF official said he is willing to join efforts that encourage investors, particularly Malaysians and Indonesians to locate in the Philippines.
“It will be good to have the Malaysians and the Indonesians here to invest in the local palm-oil industry. This will give the local industry a chance to learn other technologies in palm-oil processing,” he said.
Arranza said developing the local palm industry is good for the coconut industry because it allows stakeholders to further take advantage of the export market for coconut oil.
In a previous report released by the Mindanao Economic Development Council (Medco) in 2004, of the 304,350 hectares of land suitable for palm-oil plantation in Mindanao, only 20,000 hectares has been used by the industry.
Medco noted that Mindanao, particularly Caraga Region, has the highest potential for the palm-oil industry since it is one of the most suitable areas for palm-oil plantation due to good quality of soil type and fair weather conditions.
Oil millers in the Caraga region are Filipinas Palm Oil Plantations Inc., Agusan Plantations Inc. and Kenram Philippines Inc.
Medco noted in its report that palm oil is considered as the world’s most productive oil because its versatile composition is maximized not only for edible oils but also in making food, chemical, cosmetic and pharmaceutical products.
Citing a study published by the University of Asia and the Pacific, Medco said palm oil’s domestic demand will continue to increase 5 percent a year in the next 10 years to 2020.
In a report posted on its web site, the Department of Agriculture’s Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service noted that the government can consider offering special long-term financing for palm oil, with a seven-year grace period, and duty-free importation of planting materials and farm equipment to entice more players in the local palm-oil industry.
By Business Mirror
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