By Mike Crismundo
BUTUAN CITY – Growers in the palm oil industry are eyeing to plant palm trees in one million hectares in Mindanao to support the market in the global demand.
In an exclusive interview with The Manila Bulletin on Wednesday, Regional Director Brielgo O. Pagaran of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Northeastern Mindanao said the palm oil in the market “is in demand and need the support of the palm oil growers and palm oil plantation operators and this one million hectares additional palm oil plantation will help support the local market.”
“Last year, we already imported more than one million metric tons of palm oil oleans and this is not enough, that’s why we need to utilize another one million hectares palm plantation to support our local market,” stressed the region’s top DTI 13 official.
He said Caraga region can contribute even 600,000 hectares, and this can be taken to the already approved 500,000 hectares Certificates of Ancestral Domain Title or CADT already awarded by the government to the different group of highlanders in Caraga region.
“We can utilize these CADTs into palm oil plantation,” stressed Director Pagaran.
“The demand of palm oil is very high in the world market and it’s high time to mobilize all idle and vacant lands in Mindanao by planting more palm trees. Some 58 products can be utilized from the palm oil trees, like soap, oil, margarine cheese, infant formula, and other house needs,” he said.
To date, there are only 89,376.06 hectares devoted to palm oil plantation throughout the country and the largest plantation areas are located in South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani plus General Santos City or SOCCSKSARGEN, with 29, 096.69 hectares; Caraga region, with 25, 827.93 hectares; and Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan or MIMAROPA, with 8, 546.24 hectares.
Close to 700 experts on palm oil industry from the different parts of the country are set to converge in this region’s premier and capital city of Butuan for a two-day 11th National Palm Oil Congress (NPOC) at Almont Resort Hotel and Convention Center here on March 21-22, 2019.
With the theme “Enhancing Competitiveness of Palm Oil amidst the Vegetable Oil Crisis,” the 11th edition of the NPOC will bring in industry experts to tackle pressing issues faced by the industry and collectively work towards its sustainable development, Director Pagaran said.
City government officials led by Mayor Ronnie Vicente C. Lagnada will welcome delegates from the different parts of the country, including members of the Duterte Cabinet, among them DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez and Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol.
“The congress will also discuss updates on the Philippine palm oil industry, business matching among palm oil industry stakeholders, and success stories of palm oil industry in Malaysia and Indonesia for the Philippine palm oil growers and stakeholders to learn from,” Director Pagaran said.
He added they will also tackle the possible utilization of one million hectares for palm oil plantation in different parts of Mindanao, especially in Caraga region where weather condition is suitable and good for palm oil plantation.