COTABATO CITY, Maguin-danao—An international agricultural company is eyeing 5,000 hectares of land in Basilan for banana plantation.
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov. Mujiv Hataman said John Paul C. Parrine, president of Unifruitti Group of Companies, told him that they were considering ARMM as an investment area after Parrine had personally visited a banana farming venture in Datu Paglas town.
This town became a model for development when its late mayor, Ebrahim Paglas, partnered with a multinational firm to develop some 1,000 hectares for a banana farm using rebel returnees as workers, Hataman said.
Parrine told Hataman last week that Basilan and other parts of the region have fertile lands suited for banana plantation which, if properly developed, could boost socio-economic growth and development.
ARMM Public Works Secretary Don Mustapha Loong noted that Parrine found it easy to invest in Muslim Mindanao and his company did not wait for the eventual setting up of the Bangsamoro entity to replace the ARMM as through the Bangsamoro Basic Law.
Basilan District Engineer Soler Undug said the recent completion of the Basilan circumferential road could play a key role in the realization of Parrine firm’s proposed project.
Parrine said he had partnered with the World Bank and the Department of Agriculture’s Mindanao Rural Development Program to develop his Basilan banana plantation project, adding his firm has also eyed Camp Iranon in Maguindanao as another area for banana plantation.
Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu said some 3,000 hectares of the camp are now being prepared for planting Cavendish banana to be bankrolled by the World Bank through MRDP.