Firm pouring P85M for banana venture in Sarangani

MindaNews | 9 July 2013

Firm pouring P85M for banana venture in Sarangani

By Bong S. Sarmiento

KORONADAL CITY — With the huge export potentials of banana, a company is putting up a plantation in Sarangani province with an initial investment of P85 million, officials said.

RP Bahrain Harvest, Inc. (RPBH) launched the Cavendish banana production project last week in Alabel town, the capital of Sarangani.

RPBH, a joint venture between the AMA Group of Companies and NEH Group of Companies, is eyeing an initial 85-hectare banana plantation in Barangay Domolok, Alabel.

Amable Aguiluz V, the country’s Special Envoy to the Gulf Cooperation Council, said they are eyeing to supply the banana to Asian and Middle East markets.

Aguiluz, also the president of RPBH, said that banana, a top dollar earner in the country, is a highly suitable crop in Sarangani.

“Prospects in the domestic and foreign markets are promising as demands for fresh and processed [banana] products are increasing,” he was quoted as saying by a statement from the Sarangani information office.

RPBH plans to expand its banana plantation to 500 hectares.

Land development is expected to start this month as soon as the irrigation facility arrives from Israel.

The banana project, worked out by then Gov. Miguel Rene Dominguez for almost two years, would help draw more investments as we are opening the province to big-ticket investments, said Gov. Steve Solon.

Aguiluz considered the banana project “as a viable contribution to the government’s effort to encourage investments for agriculture” where majority of the country’s population belong.

This accounts for about 5.9 million farm households depending on agriculture as source of income, he said.

Aguiliz pointed out that the Philippines ranks third largest in the world in terms of production area for banana, which accounted for 415,000 hectares or about 8.5 percent of the total world area.

In Sarangani, around 118,697 hectares are reportedly potential for banana production.

Davao region is known as the “banana plantation capital of the Philippines” with production reaching to 4.3 million metric tons or 76 percent of the total Philippine production.

Aguiluz bared the Sarangani project is envisioned “not only to increase the farmer’s income but also to equip our farmer partners with the use of scientific means of production and marketing thru the use of modern technology.”

In 2012, the Department of Agriculture allocated a P50-million fund to assist various infra projects in Mindanao and for the techno-training needs of farmers to ensure standards of export markets were met.

Sarangani is a major producer in Region 12 or the Soccsksargen region of mango. Area planted to the crop in the province is at least 7,000 hectares. (Bong S. Sarmiento/MindaNews)
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