Japanese investors explore opportunities in Davao’s agri sector

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/09 August) – A group of Japanese businessmen came to Davao City Wednesday to explore investment opportunities in the city’s thriving agriculture sector.

Davao City Investment Promotions Center (DCIPC) chief Lemuel Ortonio said in an interview that the investors came to his office to discuss their purpose.

He said one of them signified an interest in throwaway pineapple crowns from the city that they said can be processed as one of the key ingredients for “pet food.”

He said they asked him to arrange a tour around the vast plantations in the suburbs of the city upon their return tentatively set for next month.

According to Philippine Statistics Authority, Davao City recorded the highest production of pineapples in 2016 at 25,794 metric tons (MT), or 98 percent of the overall production of Davao Region at 26,300 MT.

Production volume of Davao del Norte last year was 207.96 MT, Davao del Sur 28.36MT, Davao Oriental 159.33 MT, and Compostela Valley 110.77MT.

He said they also offered to Japanese business executives to invest in areas that are classified in top 10 priority investment areas — agriculture, tourism and recreational facilities, light manufacturing and assembly, property development, health and wellness, educational, and sports facilities, environmental protection and green projects, information and communication technology, generation of new sources of energy, transportation and infrastructure, and public-private partnership projects.

The visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife, Akie, in Davao City, the hometown of its former mayor and now President Rodrigo R. Duterte, last January 13 was seen to strengthen diplomatic and economic relations between the Philippines and Japan.

The DCIPC registered around 4,600 businesses in the second quarter of 2017, a two-fold increase compared to 2,110 businesses registered and renewed during the same period last year.

Ortonio described the impact of the martial law on the economy of Davao was almost negligible, saying his office continues to receive several inquiries from investors.

He said the increase can be attributed to the “ease of doing business” here.

“There is ease of doing business in the city, there are measures to make it easier to open business here. And then with martial law comes with heightened security and it’s possible our investors have seen their investments are safe here,” he said.

Duterte declared a 60-day martial law in Mindanao starting on May 23, the same day that clashes broke out between government forces and the Maute Group in Marawi City.

But on July 22, supposedly the last day of martial law and suspension of the privilege of writ of habeas corpus was to end, Congress approved Duterte’s request for extension until December 31, 2017. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)