Davao del Norte eyes expansion of oil palm industry
by Noel Baguio
Davao City (23 February) -- The Province of Davao del Norte is now looking at expanding and further developing its local palm-oil industry in its bid to become one of the major industry players in the region.
Noting the great potential of the industry in bringing in more foreign exchange, Governor Rodolfo del Rosario pledged to develop areas in the province that are suitable to palm oil.
He said the province wants to contribute a significant portion in helping meet the local demand for palm-oil that is steadily increasing at five percent each year.
The palm oil industry in the province is yet on its infancy stage with only a meager 532 hectares of palm oil plantations spread across the province.
The governor noted it is only a small contribution to the country's total area devoted to oil palm that already reached 44,000 hectares as of June 2009.
However, an industry report revealed the country still needed to import about 300,000 metric tons of crude palm oil to cope with domestic demand.
This translates to an immediate requirement of some 80,000 hectares of mature palm oil plantation.
This is the reason Davao del Norte wants to increase its share in nurturing the industry, as the country prepares to be one of the major exporters from the BIMP-EAGA region.
"I believe we have a high potential for the palm-oil industry since Davao del Norte is one of the most suitable areas for palm-oil plantation," del Rosario told officials and members of the Philippine Palm Oil Development Council, Inc. during their 8th Annual General Assembly at the Bulwagan ng Lalawigan in Tagum City.
He cited good quality of soil type and fair weather conditions that makes the province ideal for growing the high-value crop.
Responding to a PPODCI resolution urging local government units to fully support oil palm farmers and growers, the governor assured industry officials of the all-out support and commitment of the provincial government to the development of the industry.
He directed Provincial Agriculturist Dominador Encarnacion to identify potential areas as the province moves to meet its target of developing up to 5,000 areas for palm oil in the next three years.
Palm oil is valued as the world's most productive oil because its versatile composition is maximized not only for edible oils but also in making food, chemical, cosmetic and pharmaceutical products. (CIO) [top]