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Phl snares ₱9.59-Billion investment to boost country’s agri sector

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Mindful of the need to strengthen the agri sector and need to address the food security, the Board of Investments (BOI) has approved a number of agricultural projects, totaling Php9.59 billion in investments that were endorsed by the Department of Agriculture (DA) as Tier II agri-based projects under the 2022 Strategic Investment Priority plan pursuant to the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act (CREATE) Act. This achievement is the result of a robust partnership with the DA, aimed at strengthening the country’s food security and resilience.

“We are transforming the agricultural sector in the Philippines,” said Trade Secretary and BOI Chairman Fred Pascual. “The synergy between the BOI and the DA is already yielding significant benefits as these projects will certainly drive the adoption of new technologies and enhance food security in the Philippines—ensuring the sustainability and resilience of our agricultural systems.”

Through unwavering coordination with the BOI, the DA endorsed these projects, recognizing their potential to ensure competitive food security and support sustainable agriculture. The initiatives will incorporate advanced technology to enhance operational efficiency.

One notable project is Metro Pacific Dairy Farms, Inc.’s facility in Bay, Laguna, an integrated dairy farm and processing facility capable of producing more than 9 million liters of dairy and plant-based beverage products annually. Through the use of dairy farming principles and techniques inspired by the Israeli model that utilize artificial intelligence and state-of-the-art equipment supported by a solar power plant, the facility will be able to produce four times the average milking yield of the local industry today.

In San Rafael, Bulacan, Metro Pacific Fresh Farms, Inc. will produce 1,620 metric tons of vegetables annually. This project, in collaboration with Innovative Agro-Industry (IAI), an affiliate of Israel’s LR Group, will leverage technologies developed to cultivate high-quality vegetables even in challenging desert climates. The project will utilize the Nutrient Film Technique (NFT), a hydroponic method for leafy greens that maximizes productivity while minimizing water and nutrient use.

SL Agritech Corporation is set to become a new producer of hybrid rice seeds and palay in Tabuk City, Kalinga. The facility will have an annual capacity of 17,500,005 kilograms of hybrid rice seeds and 3,500,000 kilograms of palay. The use of hybrid rice technology is expected to help local farmers increase their production and remain competitive against imported rice.

In Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, Vifel Ice Plant and Cold Storage, Inc. will establish a cold and dry storage facility with a capacity of 5,824 pallets (2,125,760 pallet-days) for cold storage and 2,606 pallets (951,190 pallet-days) for dry storage. Additionally, Chick Haven, Inc. will operate a hatchery facility in Toril, Davao City, with an annual capacity of 18,247,680 eggs.
Resource-Based Industries Service (RBIS) Director Raquel Echague highlighted the economic benefits of these projects, which are projected to generate thousands of jobs (direct and indirect) across various regions of the country. These projects will likewise create rural employment opportunities and help increase farmers’ incomes.

“Close coordination with lead agencies such as the DA greatly helps in promoting the growth of the agricultural sector as it improves understanding of the needs of the industry and the interventions that government should be providing.” Director Echague said.

In a related development, the BOI approved six projects worth between Php1 billion and Php15 billion, totaling Php13.38 billion from February 2 to June 11, 2024. The agriculture sector led with the highest investments at Php6.05 billion, followed by the transportation and storage industry at Php3.95 billion. Following the issuance of the FIRB resolution, the BOI has been approving projects with investment capital of up to Php15 billion.

The BOI aims to position the Philippines as a regional hub for globally competitive, innovative, and sustainability-driven industries. High-tech agriculture, encompassing climate-smart technologies, artificial intelligence, and farm mechanization, is a priority sector. The Philippines has the strategic location, human resources, and natural resources to advance this goal. Agri-related sectors include smart manufacturing technologies, the production of agri-inputs such as animal vaccines and bio-fertilizers, and agri-support activities like cold chain logistics and agricultural machinery assembly.

The collaboration between the BOI and the DA in approving these agricultural projects demonstrates the government’s commitment to developing industries and attracting investments that create jobs, foster innovation, and improve the competitiveness of local industries to meet global market demands.

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