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PIA Press Release

Davao Sur firms need more supply of sugarcane, coconuts

Digos City (23 March) -- Two of the major companies in Davao del Sur revealed that they need to expand their farms to get enough supply of raw materials.

The Davao Sugar Central Company, Incorporated (DASUSECO) needs an additional of 6,000 hectares of sugarcane plantation in order to run at full capacity. Meanwhile, the Coco Davao, Incorporated has a rated capacity of 15,000 metric tons of desiccated coconut per year. However, supply of husked coconuts right now is low.

DASUSECO general manager Constancio Galinato during the recently held "Dialogue with Davao del Sur's Chief Executive Officers (CEOs)" organized by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Davao del Sur said that at present, the company only has 12,000 hectares planted to sugarcane covering Davao del Sur and some municipalities of Sarangani Province, benefiting about 3,000 farmers.

Meanwhile, Therese Capuno of Coco Davao, a producer of desiccated coconut, said that their plant is running below full production capacity since they lack coconuts to process. She said that the price increase of copra could be the main reason for the low supply of raw materials.

"With the increase in the price of copra, many farmers opt to have their coconuts processed into copra than selling those as fresh husked nuts," she said.

Manuel Chu, manager of the Darong Agricultural Development Corporation said that the prevailing buying price of fresh husked coconuts is only pegged at P4.20 per kilogram while copra is already at P20.00 per kilogram. But, they don't process all of their produce into copra because they want to serve both the desiccated coconut exporters and coconut oil manufacturers.

DTI-Davao del Sur provincial director Engr. Edwin O. Banquerigo said that the concerns raised by the sugar and coconut industries will open up opportunities for the local farmers.

"On the concern of the DASUSECO, farmers near them can actually consider planting sugarcane to meet the demand of the company. According to Mr. Galinato, location of sugarcane farms must be around 70 kilometers from the mill for full profitability," he said.

Banquerigo added that sugarcane plantation will be included as one of the priority investment areas in Davao Region, therefore, this shall be featured in future investment promotion activities.

Meanwhile, DTI-Davao del Sur will link the Coco Davao to other possible coconut producers who can fill the gap.

Based on the data presented by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) 11 to the dialogue participants, coconut production for the third quarter of 2009 recorded an increase of 1.4 percent, from 1,991,495 metric tons during the same period in 2008 to 2,019,435 MT. However, sugarcane production showed a decline of 7.8 percent, from 505, 335 MT in the third quarter of 2008 to 467,043 in the same period of 2009.

Amidst all these, DTI Regional Director Marizon S. Loreto, who was the guest speaker during the dialogue, encourages all investors and businessmen to e-mail the agency should they have inquiries or issues which they would like to be addressed.

"We will appreciate it very well if you will send us emails or letters stating your concerns. This will definitely help all stakeholders in crafting measures that will beef up the economy," she said. (dti11/jmm) [top]

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