P600-million palm oil project starts rolling

P600-million palm oil project starts rolling

/ 02:04 AM May 27, 2024

P600-million palm oil project starts rolling


Garcia Refinery Corp. (Gareco) has started construction of its P600-million palm oil refinery in Soccsksargen, the first of its kind in Mindanao, that could help advance the local industry.

The facility, which will become the first modern locally developed refinery in the island, will produce high-quality palm oil derivatives such as palm olein, palm stearin, margarine and other products for both the local and international markets.


State-run Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) extended a P450-million loan to Gareco, which is part of the AC Garcia Group of Companies, for the development of the planned refinery in Soccsksargen comprised of South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City.


Landbank said earlier the refinery would generate employment opportunities and expand the company’s workforce from five to as many as 50 workers composed of a mill manager, supervisors, operators, mechanics, electricians, laboratory analysts and staff for administrative and marketing functions.

“The refinery mill is expected to make oil palm products more accessible and affordable for the local market, and serve as a stable source of income for oil palm growers from Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao,” the bank added.

Gareco had formed partnerships with 63 farmers to manage 3,065 hectares (ha) of farm land planted to palm oil trees.

According to the Department of Agriculture, the potential supplier of palm oil nuts is much bigger considering that in Sultan Kudarat alone, palm oil trees have been planted on 14,000 ha of farm land.

“The establishment of the first palm oil refinery in the Soccsksargen region underscores the immense potential for growth and development within the palm oil sector,” Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. said.

“This embodies the aspiration of the industry stakeholders to become a dynamic, innovative, and self-sufficient industry that provides benefits and stable supply of vegetable oils for the country,” he said.


Tiu Laurel expressed the DA’s commitment to proactively “nurture the growth and development of the palm oil industry” after the five-year Palm Oil Road Map has recently been updated to support the industry.

The blueprint covers programs, activities and projects to address concerns of the industry as well as serve as a reference in sourcing funds to implement industry projects.

According to the blueprint, the proposed strategies to advance the industry include the expansion of areas to meet our domestic needs for food security, the development and adoption of available and appropriate technologies, and the enhancement of market access through standards development and efficiencies of production and enforcement of appropriate policies.

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It also entails strengthening collaboration and convergence. —JORDEENE B. LAGARE 

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