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BoI approves P2.8-B investments

The Board of Investments (BoI) on Friday said it had approved one renewable energy and two agriculture projects worth P2.8 billion in the Philippines.

In a statement, the agency said it had given the go-signal to Mindoro Harvest Energy Co., Inc. to build an eight-megawatt biomass power plant project worth P1.22 billion in the province.

It also approved Biotech Farms, Inc.’s P1.33-billion plan to expand its live hog production in South Cotabato, as well as Axelum Resources Corp.’s  P270-million project on coconut milk powder in Misamis Oriental.

BoI Managing Head Ceferino S. Rodolfo said resource-based industries such as power and agribusiness are the most resilient during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The uptrend of project registrations particularly in the agriculture or agribusiness sector will go a long way towards boosting the sector’s output this year,” he said in the statement.

BoI said the project approvals are a welcome sight for the industry as agriculture projects reached P364.8 million in the first quarter, more than double the amount from a year earlier.

It added that the power project of Mindoro Harvest adds to power and electricity investments that have reached P122 billion as of March, higher than P4.2 billion a year earlier.

The agency said Axelum’s P270-million coconut milk project would have an annual production capacity of 1.65 million kilos and is expected to create 400 jobs once commercial operations start next month.

The company’s new manufacturing line in Misamis Oriental will be housed in its current manufacturing facility. A separate building was built for a big spray dryer that will be used for the project, and another one to house its new boilers for the new manufacturing line.

“The Axelum project is expected to diversify the profile of coconut-based exports of the Philippines as its coconut milk powder exports were only $14 million in 2020,” BoI said.

The company seeks to export 100 percent of its production, with 80% going to the Americas and the rest to Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

Coconut products primarily exported by the Philippines are in the form of coconut oil at 73% or $932.04 million, desiccated coconut at 22% or $256.75 million, and copra meal at 3.42% or $60.80 million in 2020, the agency said, citing data from the local statistics office.

Meanwhile, Biotech Farms will expand its swine division with an additional 2,500 sow-level pig farm. The expansion will increase its yearly output by 48% to 169,000 hogs, BoI said. The South Cotabato farm will start operating in April next year.

“Once operational, the project will help in the arrest of the continuously increasing pork importation,” BoI said.

“Like its existing pig farm, the Biotech project will also have state-of-the-art facilities similar to what is used in the United States and Australia to achieve healthy and efficient hog farms,” it added.

The agency said Mindoro Harvest’s P1.22-billion power project is expected to be finished by end-2022 and will be commissioned in January 2023.

“Once operational, it will contribute to meeting the 26.8-megawatt uncontracted demand of Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperative, Inc. as it is currently increasing its efforts in addressing the power supply problems within its coverage area,” it said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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