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 Philippines inaugurate new palm plantation; furthe

Philippines inaugurate new palm plantation; further development slated

BusinessWorld (Philippines) 23/7/2001, DAVAO CITY - A 100-hectare oil palmplantation was inaugurated last week in Nabunturan, Compostela Valley. Theproject is funded by a P5-million loan from the Land Bank of thePhilippines.Bank officials said the project involves 55 farmer members of theNabunturan Agrarian Reform Integrated Cooperative (Narcico) headed by itspresident, Carlos Vegafria. It is supported by both the Department ofAgrarian Reform (DAR) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).DAR is involved in providing the farmers with support infrastructure aswell as other livelihood projects, while the DTI is developingentrepreneurial skills of farmers through the "big brother-small brother"assistance concept.In this regard, the DTI has linked the project to the Agusan-based AgumilPhilippines, Inc., a pioneer in oil palm farming and processing inMindanao. Caraga, where the Agusan provinces are located, has the largesthectarage of productive oil palm farms. Agumil will provide the technologyrequired by Narcico in oil palm production and marketing.Chee Kong Chang, general manager of Agumil, said the project's fullproduction could be expected after three years. Average yield will be18-20 tons per hectare in the next 25 years. Mr. Chee said while oil palmdoes not offer "jackpot" revenues, the plant is a reliable source ofrevenues for the farmers.Municipal agrarian reform officer Antonio Ferolin said the oil palm treewas found suitable to the site because it survives even if submerged fordays in water."Hopes are high that the project will end hardships caused by cropfailures in flood-washed areas such as Magsaysay and Basak barangays,where the plantation is located," a project statement noted. It wasexplained that oil palm trees withstand occasional flooding. "If things gowell, the project is expected to expand to 500 hectares," the reportadded.In the last few months, Mindanao agribusiness leaders and experts arepromoting oil palm development for Mindanao. Based on a previous researchstudy by a Malaysian agency, at least 300,000 hectares of land on theisland are highly suitable to oil palm production.Experts claimed oil palm is much more efficient than coconut in terms ofoil extracted from an average tree. Mindanao has over one million hectaresof land planted to coconut.So far, only less than 20,000 hectares of land in the area are planted tooil palm. Current plantations are controlled by big companies in Caragaregion and in Central Mindanao.A recent industry conference in the city had resolutions asking thegovernment for assistance including provision of infrastructure to oilpalm plantation areas and review of tariffs imposed on vegetable oilimports.

Malaysian Palm Oil Board ( MPOB ) Lot 6, SS6, Jalan Perbandaran, 47301 Kelana Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, MALAYSIA.
Tel : 603 - 7802 2800 || Fax : 603 - 7803 3533