On 8 June 2023, Minister for Economic Affairs NIHEI Daisuke of the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines attended the inauguration ceremony of the Mulberry Tea Factory at Pampanga State Agriculture University (PSAU), San Agustin, Magalang, Pampanga.
Honorable Representative of the First District of Pampanga, Carmelo “John” Lazatin II, Magalang City Mayor Maria Lourdes P. Lacson, JICA Philippines Chief Representative, SAKAMOTO Takema, Kuwanosato Inc. President Seong Min Han, PSAU President Dr. Anita G. David, and other university and local government officials also graced the event.
In his speech during the ceremony, Minister NIHEI expressed confidence that the project will greatly benefit the local farmers of Pampanga. He also expressed optimism that the factory would create new opportunities, and generate more employment in the province.
The Philippines is considered primarily an agricultural country. However, farmers often suffer from unstable income due to natural disasters, price fluctuations, low-quality agricultural products, and a lack of an inclusive supply chain, among others.
The introduction of high-value products is seen as one of the strategies for promoting income-generating activities for farmers. In 2016, Kuwanosato, Inc., together with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), worked with Pampanga State Agricultural University (PSAU) to introduce mulberry planting in Pampanga. In 2020, the JICA Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Business Verification Survey with the Private Sector provided mulberry tea processing facilities to the PSAU mulberry tea factory.