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PIA Press Release
2009/08/27

Brunei sets goodwill visit to Mindanao

Koronadal City (27 August) -- Brunei's Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources headed by Minister Pehin Yahya and his delegation visited Dole Philippines in South Cotabato and other parts in Mindanao for a possible investment.

Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap said that Brunei have signified serious interest for a business venture in Mindanao.

"They are very interested that's why they came. Few weeks ago I was in Brunei to assist on their rice harvest kasi tinulungan natin sila magset-up ng demonstration plot nila few months ago. Sinabi ko why don't you come to the Philippines and take a look, sumama kaagad sila within two weeks they are here… that means they are serious."

"This is very important because if they like it here and they see that they can work with us, they will invest in Mindanao. This will be good to us because it will create more jobs and more opportunities for the agriculture sector here in Mindanao," Yap said.

These areas of investment, Yap said, include rice research and development; agribusiness estates in Mindanao; corn production and processing; production of high-value commercial crops such as pineapple, banana and mango; marine zone development; poultry farm development and the Halal food industry.

Brunei is a very small country with a lot of money to invest so they will invest it on a company that will export to the world. Yap wanted them to come because if they run business here, they can help finance the expansion of agricultural food processing to be exported to the world not just here in our country.

The Philippines have a great advantage because it is very near Brunei. People are all bound by the same Malay culture so we understand each other that is why I want to seize the opportunity, Yap added.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was forged earlier this year by the Department of Agriculture, on behalf of the Philippines, to further strengthen bilateral cooperation between the two Southeast Asian countries, particularly in the fields of agriculture and farm-related trade and investments.

The Philippines is helping Brunei plant rice which requires about 35,000-38,000 metric tons every year. They do not produce their own rice so experts from the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) teach them how to plant rice and to assess Brunei's potential for rice self-sufficiency in response to the Brunei Government's request for Philippine technical assistance to help achieve Brunei's food security goals.

Yap also said that Brunei came and said they are interested, it's better to work with countries that have already signified interest rather than look around. Other countries who also expressed interest to invest in the Philippines are China and some companies from Bahrain, Dubai and Saudi Arabia of the Middle East so they are also accommodated. We are also meeting with some Spanish companies for biofuel technology. (DA-12/PIA-12) [top]

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