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/ 05:12 AM October 15, 2018

SL Agritech diversifying into other agri produce

The country’s leading hybrid rice producer, SL Agritech Corp., is now looking to venture into the production of other agricultural products starting with cavendish bananas.

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In a chance interview during the AgriLink Expo held recently, SL Agritech chair Henry Lim Bon Liong said the company had started exporting bananas to countries in the Middle East as well as to China.

“We started it about six months ago. We are exporting four to five containers every week but we are not happy with that quantity. We want to reach 100 containers every week,” he said.

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The company is currently getting its bananas from small and independent banana plantations in Davao, but Bon Liong said they were starting to plant their own produce in a plantation in Agusan del Sur.

The goal is to increase the company’s banana exports by the end of the year with the additional produce it would get from its own plantation, Bon Liong said.

Aside from the manufacture of hybrid rice seeds, rice varieties and bananas, SL Agritech has also introduced snacks like brown rice puffs and banana chips. It is also looking to export pineapples and mangoes.

Without giving any figures, Bon Liong said the company continued to post double-digit growth yearly but the goal, he said, was to double its revenue. —KARL R. OCAMPO

Supplemental loan for Bohol airport OKd

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) will provide a supplemental loan for the further expansion of the soon-to-open New Bohol Airport on Panglao Island.

The loan will “fill additional funding needs due to project scope change and other factors,” Jica senior representative in the Philippines Tetsuya Yamada said in an e-mail earlier.

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Yamada said the New Bohol Airport’s runway would be extended to 2,500 meters from 2,000 meters previously.

Also, its passenger terminal will be upgraded to two-story from one-story, Yamada added.

He said the details of the loan as well as the expansion project would be provided by the Department of Finance and the Department of Transportation, respectively.

National Economic and Development Authority documents earlier showed that in the official development assistance (ODA) pipeline were 12 loans as well as four grants from Jica.

Japan remained the Philippines’ largest source of ODA as of end-2017, with $5.3 billion or 36.2 percent of the total outstanding ODA portfolio. —BEN O. DE VERA

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