6 foreign investors to pour millions in palm oil farms in Mindanao

January 7, 2014 11:23 am 

By Aurelio A. Pena

DAVAO CITY, Jan. 6 (PNA) — At least six foreign companies have expressed keen interest to invest in several palm oil ventures jointly with Filipino partners in Mindanao.

In a report presented to consultants of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), palm oil cluster industry chairman Raul Nuevas said most of these foreign investors are looking for “big contiguous area” of 100,000 hectares that they can lease for 100 years.

“It’s not possible to find big whole areas of 100,000 hectares in Mindanao that they can lease for a hundred years. We can’t find these kind of areas for them,” Nuevas said.

The palm oil industry cluster based in Caraga Region, according to Nuevas, had been receiving several serious inquiries from many foreign investors in the Asia-Pacific region, like Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan and the Middle East after a recent industry conference they held in Cagayan de Oro.

Nuevas said these foreign inquiries came from the New Britain Palm Oil Ltd, Pertamina Indonesia, Perkeburas Nasuntara, Univanich, Bali Palm Oil and Marubeni Corporation. All these companies expressed keen interest to invest in palm oil ventures in Mindanao.

There are currently 75 palm oil investors in Caraga who are mostly local farmers and big-time growers of oil palms. The Philippines’ biggest investors today are two Caraga-based companies: Filipinas Palm Oil Plantations that runs huge tracts of farmland planted to oil palms and the Caraga Oil Refinery, Inc which processes and refines the palm oil to meet the huge demand of the domestic market.

Due to this huge demand and very limited supply, the palm oil industry can only supply 30 percent of the domestic market, while the balance of 70 percent is imported by industrial users of this commodity in the Philippines, according to Nuevas.

To reduce imports of palm oil and boost the production output of the country’s palm oil industry, total investment to make this possible is set at P212 Billion and allocated as follows: Plantations–P62 Billion, Oil Mills–P20 Billion, Infrastructure–P100 Billion and Refineries–P30 Billion.

Nuevas said this is part of the Palm Oil Industry Road Map that was prepared and developed by the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) which has given its full support and funding to develop the industry in the coming years. (PNA)

CTB/ASA/AAP/LDP

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