DAF-ARMM eyes African oil palm industry for region

COTABATO CITY, (PNA) — The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DAF-ARMM) is eyeing the development of the African oil palm industry to boost agricultural development in the region.

The ARMM comprises the provinces of Maguindanao, Sulu, Tawi-tawi, Basilan and Lanao del Sur.

Of the five provinces, Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur depends much on agriculture, considering both are situated in mainland Central Mindanao.

The island-provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi are situated in the Zamboanga Peninsula and rely heavily on aquatic resources.

Newly installed DAF-ARMM Secretary Macmod Mending, in a press briefing Thursday, said that Malaysian investors are initially targeting Maguindanao for the oil palm industry should it meet the appropriate requirements for the industry.

“For one, the oil palm industry needs at least 5,000 hectares of land with a processing plant in it,” Mending said.

He said that Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu is currently scouting for a big parcel of land in his hometown Buluan in the second district for a possible partnership with the investors.

More so, he said the governor is also considering a huge portion of land near Polloc Port in the first district of the province to be planted with oil palm trees.

Once processed, oil palms become palm oil commonly used as healthy cooking ingredient in Africa, Southeast Asia and parts of Europe.