July 3, 2008


San Miguel, Kouk group venture in large-scale agri programmeme


Philippine food and beverage giant San Miguel Corporation announced that it will partner with Kuok Group of Hong Kong to go into large-scale corporate farming.

Eduardo Cojuangco Jr., San Miguel chairman, said the $1-billion project dubbed as "Feeding Our Future" will allow "for a sustainable, adequate supply of grains, sugar and other basic food stables."

Ramon Ang, San Miguel president and chief operating officer, and Ean Kuok, Shangri-la Asia Ltd. chairman, signed the memorandum on agreement Thursday (July 3).

The project aims to develop 1 million hectares of agricultural lands.

The government has been encouraging companies to go into corporate farming in a bid to boost the Philippines' food self-sufficiency goal by 2010.

Frisco Malabanan, GMA Rice Programme director, said the Department of Agriculture has already met with a number of private companies to work out an arrangement with them for corporate farming.

Malabanan added that under the planned programme, the government will hook with farmers and companies. While farmers tend to the farm, the companies will be providing funds and technology to boost production.

He also said companies will benefit in a way that their employees and workers would have an easier time to secure their food, instead of them worrying about the high prices of the commodity.

House Speaker Prospero Nograles said the government can adopt corporate farming as one possible scheme to increase food production and tap Mindanao, which still has vast tracks of arable but underutilized lands as the country's primary food basket.


Representative Abraham Mitra, on the other hand, proposed requiring the country's top 100 corporations to engage in agricultural production to feed their own employees. Members of the Mindanao bloc in the House of Representatives are also backing the proposal.

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