Dutch coco firm to invest in Sarangani

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/13 October) — Netherlands-based Van Der Knaap Group of Companies is planning to pour in investments in Sarangani Province as part of its continuing expansion in various parts of the country.

Sarangani Gov. Steve Chiongbian Solon said the international company, which mainly produces and markets coco peat, is currently exploring the viability of expanding its operations in the area.

He said company officials and representatives disclosed such plan in a recent meeting at the provincial capitol in Alabel town.

“The company initially manifested interest to invest in the province through various ventures,” the governor said.

Solon said the local government assured the company of its full support and assistance in case it proceeds with its planned expansion in the area.

He cited that the province has “everything the company needs from raw materials to manpower.”

Sarangani, which has six coastal municipalities, is one of Mindanao’s top producers of coconut and its by-products.

Coconut is extensively cultivated in the province with plantations reaching around 78,000 hectares, based on the local government’s data.

The Van Der Knaap Group initially signified last year to invest as much as US$ 1.5 million for the processing and marketing of coco peat.

The company identified Mati, Davao Oriental as possible site of its processing plant due to the availability of raw materials.

Coco peat, which is made from coconut husks, initially emerged in the 90s as a raw material for potting soil as well as organic and recyclable product with many possibilities for all types of cultivation.

Raw coco peat is currently being sold in the local market as soil conditioner and is not being processed into coco peat products used for horticultural and agricultural applications.

Through processing, coco peat can be turned into a high value planting medium that can be exported. (MindaNews)