Saudi firm eyes agri venture in Region 12

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/28 July) — A Saudi Arabian company plans to invest in Southwestern Mindanao in the field of agriculture while a Japanese aid agency showed interest to help in the livestock sector, Agriculture regional director Amalia Datukan, said.

Datukan said the East Asia Development and Agricultural Investment Co. is eyeing a joint agriculture venture in the area.

The company’s chief executive officer, Maher Kheder, visited the region two weeks ago to scout 500 hectares of agricultural lands that would be planted to basmati and jasmine rice varieties, high-value tropical fruits and vegetables.

“The visit of possible investors is a good sign of growth and development of the agriculture sector in the region,” Datukan said in a statement.

Southwestern Mindanao or Region 12, covers the provinces of South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

Kheder toured the agricultural province of South Cotabato, home of giant fruit producer Dole Philippines, Inc., and also visited a corn post-harvest processing and trading center in Malungon, Sarangani.

Datukan expressed hopes that more potential investors would visit the area and that they will eventually pour investments to help spur the regional economy.

Masayoshi Nakatani, a senior consultant of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), also visited Central Mindanao to assess a livestock artificial insemination program as well as see the potentials of native chicken raising.

Datukan said Nakatani’s visit will hopefully lead to a funding assistance for the livestock program.

JICA is an independent government agency that coordinates official development assistance for the government of Japan.

Its charter mandates the agency to provide economic assistance that will accelerate social growth in developing countries, and the promotion of international cooperation. (Bong Sarmiento/MindaNews)