Monday, November 22, 2004 SARANGANI, PHILIPPINES-- A Singaporean investoris eyeing Sarangani province as an expansion area for a palm oilplantation.
Gov. Miguel Dominguez said business tycoon CK Chiang of Singapore met withhim Wednesday last week at the provincial capitol to discuss details ofthe planned expansion of the latter's palm oil plantation in the province.
Dominguez said that Chiang has palm oil plantations and oil mills inBohol, Agusan Del Sur and, just recently, a 20,000-hectare plantation inPalawan.
The governor further revealed that Chiang, through the help of theProvincial Government, managed to find a 300-hectare land in the towns ofMaitum and Kiamba.
He said the Provincial Government talked with the private landowners andthey signified their willingness to plant palm oil.
Planting will reportedly start by the first quarter of next year.
"This is just the start. We will try to find more areas for palm oilplantation once the project kicks off. We will convince and encourage ourfarmers to plant palm oil as we need at least a 10,000-hectare plantationbefore a palm oil mill can be put up," the governor said.
Dominguez said palm oil is a better alternative crop as harvest time isheld in just 10-day interval once the plant started to bear fruit.
He said farmer engaged in palm oil production could earn as much asP45,000 per hectare, much higher than what they are getting from plantingstaple crops and coconut.
The governor said the entry of the Singaporean investor would not onlygenerate employment for the locals but would also help fuel the growth oflocal economy.
Aside from Maitum and Kiamba, another area in the province eyed for palmoil project expansion includes Malungon.
In the later part of 2001, a Malaysian company and its Filipino businesspartner eyed Malungon town as the site for a vast palm oil plantation.
The Sawit Kinabalu Berhad and the Golden Faith Holdings, Inc. visited thearea and found out that at least 13 barangays in Malungon are conducivefor palm oil.
The Philippines has been importing palm oil for years, draining thecountry's dollar reserves.
From 20,000 tons, the local demand has soared to 63,000 tons.
Data from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources showed thatin 2003 about 20,000 hectares of land all over the country are planted topalm oil.
About 75,000 hectares are reportedly needed to meet local demands.
Aside from being an ingredient in making margarine and shortenings, palmoil is also used in the manufacture of soaps or detergents, among others.