A Filipino banana company is finalizing its plan to expand in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), particularly the province of Basilan.
Last week, Alberto F. Bacani, president and chief executive officer of Unifrutti Tropical Philippines Inc., said that his company is looking at developing about 1,000 hectares for banana production in the province. “There is already a tripartite agreement between the local government, ourselves and the cooperatives there,” he said as they are just waiting for the Provincial Agrarian Reform Council to approve the agribusiness venture agreement.
Although the company is only looking at developing 1,000 hectares “initially,” Bacani said the province can become a “banana island in the future.”
To fund the project, there will be a loan with the Land Bank of the Philippines at about $30,000 a hectare, he said, with the growers taking out the loans while the company provides assistance to ensure productivity of the area.
Bacani added that the approach is the company and the cooperatives partner with the bank and that involvement of the company as both the one providing the assistance as well as ensuring that there is market for the product makes the “viability of the project very high so they (bank) approve the loan.”
The company has experience in the region as it was the partner of the Paglas group when they decided to open banana production in the Paglas town in Maguindanao. It also ventured into pineapple production in Wao, a town in Lanao del Sur, another province in the region.