MAKATI CITY (MindaNews / 13 Feb) – With help from Kagay-anons living in Metro Manila, the Cagayan de Oro gamble to attract major investments in the city had a roaring start with at least 250 traders and business executives attending the business forum in Makati City on Wednesday.
Copies of fact books on how to “Connect and Do Business in Cagayan de Oro” ran out early as traders and executives read them to see how they can get into the economic dynamism that made the city the most competitive in the country in 2012.
“This is a coming-out party for Cagayan de Oro. Business has finally taken notice of the city’s resiliency and competitiveness,” an elated Mayor Oscar Moreno said.
The one-day business forum organized by the city government has already produced major potential investments in the agriculture sector that, if materialized, could spark livelihood in Cagayan de Oro’s mountain villages that were long-saddled with illegal mining issues.
Hector San Juan, a consultant of the Cagayan de Oro Agricultural Office, said Rocky Mountain Arabica Coffee Company has signified its willingness to invest P150 million for 1,000 hectares of coffee farms in the city’s hinterland villages of Tignapoloan and Besigan, where illegal mining for gold is rampant.
“Most of these villages are located at least 3,000 feet above sea level. Rocky Mountain will either invest directly or engage local farmers to grow quality coffee,” San Juan said.
San Juan said most of the financing for the coffee farms will be handled by the Development Bank of the Philippines.
According to their website, Rocky Mountain Arabica Coffee Company has operational coffee farms in Tuba in Benguet province. It is currently developing coffee plantations in Miarayon in Talakag, Bukidnon; in the Kitanglad mountain range also in Bukidnon; and in Kiamba, South Cotabato. It is negotiating for another plantation at Camp John Hay in Baguio City.
San Juan said another company, A Brown Company, is also willing to invest for 1,000 hectares of oil palm plantation in Barangay Tignapoloan.
Moreno said it would take six months or more to finalize before all the investment proposals will be implemented.
“I am elated with the tremendous showing to the potential of Cagayan de Oro,” Moreno said.
The National Competitiveness Council (NCC) said Cagayan de Oro bested 50 other cities to become the most competitive city in 2012.
The next four cities, in order, are Iloilo, San Fernando, Butuan, and Bacolod. The NCC said Cebu and Davao did not submit information that would have measured their competitiveness.
Roderick Toledo, vice president of Erehwon Artworld Corporation, said the local government of Cagayan de Oro should do at least one business forum so traders in Metro Manila know the updated economic master plan of the city.
“Businessmen want to know if there are good infrastructure in Cagayan de Oro. What is the real estate and power situation?” Toledo said.
Most importantly, Toledo said these business forums allow Kagay-anons living in Metro Manila to help.
“Kagay-anons who are successful here want to help our city and this is a good venue. We can bring potential investors to these forums,” said lawyer Armi Jane Borje, head of Jollibee’s Government Affairs department.
Borje said she loved the way the local government showed testimonies from business companies who were successful in their investments in Cagayan de Oro.
“It showed how our city has become a dynamic city and we, Kagay-anons, can proudly tell our colleagues here,” she said.
Manny Boniao, a trustee of the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OROCHAMBER) for the agricultural sector, said a Kagay-anon, Ricky Tamparong, is bringing a group of traders to engaged in corn farming in nearby Bukidnon province.
“Because he is a Kagay-anon, Tamparong knows this venture will eventually benefit Cagayan de Oro because we are the gateway,” Boniao said.