Saturday Aug, 08 2020 04:56:36 AM

 P100-M abaca fiber processing plant to be established in BARMM

Economic News • 05:30 AM Wed Nov 20, 2019
Shamera Abobakar/RBOI-BARMM
RBOI-BARMM, chaired by Atty. Ishak Mastura, has approved the registration of Hong Kong Feng Seng Heritage Philippines Inc. (HK FSH) to set up a fully mechanized abaca fiber processing plant worth P100-M in Lanao Sur.

COTABATO CITY - A Php 100 million abaca fiber processing plant will be established at Brgy. Calilangan, Balabagan, Lanao del Sur after the Regional Board of Investments (RBOI), Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) approved the registration of Hong Kong Feng Seng Heritage Philippines Inc. (HK FSH).

RBOI officials led by RBOI Chairman, lawyer Ishak Mastura, welcomed the first of its kind fully mechanized abaca processing plant to be set up in the BARMM. The joint venture between HK HFS and Hofer Hacienda is viewed as a big boon to existing and potential abaca farmers to maximize their produce since there is a ready export market.

“As the year closes, BARMM has shown the benefits of peace in terms of more willing investors in the region, especially since the Bangsamoro Organic Law just began its implementation this year thru the administration of Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Interim Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim”, Mastura said. “

Manolito Hofer, HK FHS Chief Executive Officer said that the project is part of his personal advocacy to end arm struggle and push development in his home province, Lanao del Sur.”

“I am optimistic that with the start of this facility, more opportunities will come to BARMM. HK FHS plans to establish additional 10,000 hectares of abaca plantations through contract growing all over the region including Zamboaga Peninsula to generate around 20,000 or more workers in the next few years” Hofer further said.  

HK FSH will also set up an abaca tissue culture laboratory and nursery to supply its plantation needs. Initially, the nursery targets at 2,000 plantlets for 1,000 hectares in its first year of operations and increases as the project expands in the years to come.

The plant which initially employs 107 workers has a starting capacity of 12,000 metric tons of abaca fiber at 10 percent increase annually. All products will be exported to China for pulp making through Bloomfield (Xingtai) Specialty Paper Co. Ltd.  Bloomfield supplies pulps to paper mills in China and the world.

According to Minister Abuamri Taddik of the Ministry of Trade, Investments and Tourism (MTIT-BARMM), the region has developed an abaca industry roadmap focused on Lanao del Sur envisioned to maximize the potential of the areas, empower the labor force through good agricultural practices and alleviate the lives of the people of the lake.

The abaca is known worldwide as the “Manila Hemp”, with the Philippines as a top producer and exporter. The abaca fiber is considered the strongest of natural fibers. It is three times stronger than cotton. 

As per PhilFIDA’s 2018 data, ARMM is among the top five abaca producing regions in the Philippines contributing 10.07% of the country’s total abaca production. Lanao del Sur is second to Sulu in abaca production in ARMM and ranks eight in the country. The province has an approximate 5,621 hectares with an average yield of 0.69 metric tons per hectare of abaca production.

The registration of HK FSH will allow the company to avail of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives from the government such as income tax holidays (ITH), duty free importation on capital equipment and other applicable incentives upon start of the project’s commercial operation. 

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