Del Monte invests $60M in ARMMBy Riza T. Olchondra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is hosting a $60-million banana plantation project by Del Monte Fresh Produce (Philippines) Inc. as part of efforts to grow investor confidence in the region.
Del Monte, through its subsidiary Delinanas Development Corp., wants to develop up to 3,000 hectares of banana plantations with direct employment opportunities for thousands of locals, according to the RBOI-ARMM accomplishment report for January-June 2012.
By the first quarter of 2013, Del Monte has committed to have 1,500 hectares of banana plantations with complete facilities, Regional Board of Investments (RBOI)-ARMM chair Sakiran A. Hajan said in a phone interview. RBOI-ARMM has granted tax incentives while local leaders have facilitated the release of permits for the project, which is seen to generate jobs and result in more government revenue through taxes.
In July, Del Monte started spending more than $14 million in developing the first 500 hectares in the municipality of Datu Abdullah Sangki, Maguindanao province. That alone beat the RBOI-ARMM target of generating almost $12 million in annual investments, which was needed to create about 800 local jobs.
Other investments are in the works, Hajan said, with ARMM OIC Gov. Mujiv S. Hataman and other local leaders offering assistance to address the perceived lack of security and organization in the ARMM. An investment convergence forum for ARMM has been arranged for local authorities and industry players together with potential investors from Manila, Cebu, Davao and overseas, he added.
RBOI-ARMM has reported dialogues with executives of Tagum Development Corp. and Sumitomo Fruits regarding investments in banana, solo papaya and pineapple. Local government leaders from Parang and Upi in Maguindanao attended the dialogues.
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