Author Topic: Yap to Seal P25.8-Billion investments to RP,agri sale to UAE:  (Read 1138 times)

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February 27, 2008 - Yap to seal P25.8-B investments to RP, agri sale to UAE   
The Philippines expects to seal in Dubai close to P26 billion-worth of supply contracts for and investments in its prime fruit and processed food export business, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said yesterday.
Yap left the country yesterday for a 3-day visit to United Arab Emirates to revive a dormant agriculture and fisheries cooperation agreement between the Philippines and UAE.
 Yap is scheduled to sign with his counterpart a new pact that will pave the way for new financial grants from Dubai for Philippine projects aimed at reducing rural poverty and boost farm production in the Visayas and Mindanao.
The agriculture secretary's visit to the UAE is also expected to cement the earlier commitments by UAE firms to buy $8 million (or about P328 million) worth of agricultural and processed food products from at least 10 Filipino export companies that  will participate in this year Gulfood 2008 in Dubai .
During his overseas trip, Yap is also set to witness the signing several contracts worth $581 million (P23.8 billion) for the export of fresh Cavendish bananas and sweet pineapples to the UAE.
Among the companies that have committed to these contracts are Fresh Fruits Company, Del Monte Foods Middle East, Samico and Abbar Zainy Trading.
Yap will also witness the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Fresh Fruits Company, which plans to invest $50 million to develop at least 3,000 hectares of Cavendish banana and sweet pineapple plantations in the Philippines, particularly in Mindanao. Fresh Fruits is one of the top trading companies in the Middle East with over 50 years of experience in importing and exporting fresh vegetables in the region.
The DA will also sign a MOA with Dashte Morghab Holdings (Saadi Group of Companies) for agriculture and fisheries cooperation, particularly on joint ventures in growing banana, pineapple and mango in the Philippines.   
The signing of a new MOA on Agriculture and Fisheries Cooperation between the Philippines , represented by Yap, and the UAE could open P699.52 million-worth of UAE grants to bankroll rural development projects in Mindanao .
This agreement will be very significant because it will open doors for the Philippines to technical and financial assistance from the UAE for the development of the Philippine agriculture & fishery sectors, especially on the establishment of a Halal Zone in the Philippines, Yap said.

This year, the DA aims to sustain or even surpass its 4.68% expansion in 2007 on the strength of the unmatched public spending by President Arroyo on irrigation works, post harvest facilities and seed technology to keep agriculture and the domestic economy in general on its high-growth course for the rest of her term.
Agriculture Undersecretary Berna Romulo Puyat said that among the projects to be submitted for consideration under the proposed MOA on Agriculture and Fisheries Cooperation is the P400-million Rural Development Pilot Project in Lanao Del Sur, which aims to reduce poverty and promote peace in Muslim Mindanao.
Also included, added Puyat, are a P12-million project to establish a pilot spray-dry processing plant and develop the commercial production of instant fruit juices and dried fruit powders; and a P287.52 million initiative to establish a Food Standards Development and Research Center in the Visayas as part of the governments food security program.

Yap said the DA will also submit for possible UAE funding some P2.1 billion-worth of project proposals on developing the Philippine halal food industry.

The centerpiece project of this initiative for consideration is the establishment of a P1.26-billion Halal Economic Zone in Zamboanga City, which is hoped to generate 24,000 new jobs for Muslim Filipinos and boost export earnings in Mindanao by at least $200 million annually.

Another proposal to be submitted for possible UAE funding is an P840-million project that is expected to benefit over 32,000 Muslim farmers and entrepreneurs in Mindanao through the  establishment of a Halal model poultry farm complete with research laboratories, abattoirs and other modern facilities.

The global Halal food market is valued at $200 billion, which means that if the Philippines can initially tap just one percent of this lucrative share, our country can earn at least $2 billion a year from Halal exports alone, Yap said.
We have a comparative advantage when it comes to developing its halal food industry: We are bird flu-free and generally free of the foot-and-mouth disease, making us more competitive than our neighboring countries, he added.

Moreover, the Philippines, specifically Mindanao, can count on a reliable supply of feed ingredients like corn, rice, copra meal and fish meal to make its Halal food exports credible and genuine, he said.

In 2006, bilateral trade between the two countries stood at $520.27 million, an increase of 56% over the 2005 trade figure of $333.1 million.  Philippine exports to the UAE increased by $46.25 million or 39.8% from $117.96 million in 2005 to $164.21 million in 2006. 

The Philippines major exports to the UAE include garments, fresh bananas, processed food, semiconductors, other industrial manufactures, cement/cement products, transport equipment, and cosmetics & personal care products


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