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Mindanao foreign-assisted business ventures take off

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Cotabato City, Philippines

An aquamarine and agriculture production ventures between two multinational groups and the Philippine government has taken off after the agreement was signed four months ago.

The projects involve the Tokushima Auction Market of Tokushima City in Japan, the Asia Pacific Precision Agriculture Group (ASPAC AG), and the Southern Philippines Development Authority (SPDA).  

In a statement on Monday, August 8, the SPDA said its separate ventures with the two firms have taken off.

The ASPAC AG is to develop, along with a local counterpart, the Lanao del Sur Corn Development Corporation, vast corn plantations in Amai Manabilang and Wao towns in Lanao del Sur, according to the SPDA and the Regional Board of Investments-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (RBOI-BARMM).

The Japanese firm is now setting up aquamarine projects in the Zamboanga peninsula, according to SPDA.

The Tokushima-SPDA project was sealed via an agreement that representatives of both sides signed in Zamboanga City last April.

The agreement was signed by SPDA Administrator Gerry Salapuddin and Yoshihisha Arai, Tokushima’s president and executive officer.

The project is focused on production of crabs, shrimps and prawns in seaside areas in the Zamboanga peninsula.

Salapuddin said the projects will generate employment for Moro people and raise revenues for the government.

“These are in support of the pronounced policy of President Ferdinand Marcos to boost agricultural productivity and employment for Filipinos,” Salapuddin said.

The RBOI-BARMM approved in recent months multi-million investments, some by foreign firms, for provinces in the Bangsamoro region.

Lawyer Ishak Mastura, chairperson of the RBOI-BARMM, said efforts to strengthen the “halal” food industries in the Bangsamoro region also gained headway with the coming in of the Prime Certification and Inspection Asia Pacific Incorporated, most known as the PRIME.

Halal means permitted, or not forbidden in Arabic, now a science applied in production of food Muslims can eat that also be consumed by non-Muslims.

The PRIME is a subsidiary of the Prime Certification and Inspection outfit in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

It is aiming to establish halal laboratories and testing facilities in the Bangsamoro region for food production industries whose products are marketed in Middle East countries.

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The PRIME is also targeting to train “halal technologists” from the five Bangsamoro provinces — Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. (John Unson)

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