ARMM registers P3.7 billion in new investment from banana firm
Cotabato City (August 19, 2015) – The Regional Board of Investments in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (RBOI-ARMM) has recently approved the registration of a Cavendish banana plantation project of Al-Sahar Agri Ventures Inc., in Maguindanao.
Lawyer Ishak Mastura, chairman and managing head of RBOI-ARMM, said Al Sahar’s banana plantation, amounting to P3.7 billion, is so far the biggest private investment in the region’s history. The project has a total land area of 2,600 hectares in the municipalities of Talayan, Buldon, Barira, and Mangudadatu.
Al Sahar is an affiliate of the Unifrutti Group that manages other companies in ARMM such as La Frutera Inc., Wao Development Corp. and Mount Kalatungan Agri Ventures Inc. The new plantation in Maguindanao is expected to create up to 3,900 jobs for local residents.
“Our company is here in ARMM to help uplift the lives of the people and help propel economic development in the region,” said Ed Bullecer, director of Al-Sahar. ARMM has been the location for several successful ventures of Unifrutti.
“We consider the ARMM as the best agri-related investment destination in the country due to its fertile and vast lands, low cost of doing business and strong support from local leaders despite security issues,” said Bullecer.
Before Al Sahar’s registration, investments in the region have been tracked at P1.8 billion. This year’s investment figure is expected to increase further in the coming months since more private ventures are in the pipeline, officials said.
Current projects in the ARMM are an oil palm plantation worth P1.3 billion, a napier grass biomass fuel production project, which is estimated to cost P400 million, and the modernization and expansion of a cassava starch factory worth about P200 million.
Since he assumed office in 2013, Governor Mujiv Hataman has always been promoting a business climate conducive to investments by introducing reforms leading to good governance. Gov. Hataman believes that investors coming in the region should get the right and efficient services as well as transparency in transacting with regional agencies.
“RBOI has been assisting investors in their plans of investing in the region. We give advice on business opportunities and provide information on the business (environment) in ARMM,” said Atty. Mastura. Project approval entails fiscal and non-fiscal incentives, he added, noting further that investors are being guided and assisted during the pre-application stage and even after they register.
As a result of the agency’s pro-active stance in dealing with investors, timely information dissemination, and effective business advocacy, RBOI was recently awarded this year by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas as among its Outstanding Partners for Regional Economic Development. (Bureau of Public Information)