New Opportunity for Would-Be Poultry Farmers

PHILIPPINES - President Arroyo was present at the start of a new project, which allows Filipinos working in other countries to invest in a poultry farm in their home country.
calendar icon 6 January 2010
clock icon 4 minute read

A 100-million-peso (PHP) poultry farm project in Davao del Sur has tapped the ready money of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in a project that would allow them to co-own and monitor the project online.

Business Mirror of the Philippines reports that the poultry farm, along with a saba banana-production project, was launched yesterday at the Marco Polo Hotel here, witnessed by President Arroyo, who also led the distribution of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Kabuhayan Starter Kits among the indigenous communities picked as beneficiaries of the banana production project.

The poultry programme of the Maharlika Agro-Marine Ventures, owned by businessman Vicente Lao, has signed up with the country's leading poultry producer and distributor, San Miguel Foods, Inc., to ensure a ready market for the project's poultry output.

Mr Lao said the project would develop the poultry farm in Coronon, Davao del Sur, this year, through the combined capital from contributing OFWs who would be asked to shell out PHP50,000 for ownership of 500 shares.

The OFW contribution would comprise 49 per cent of the production and operation expenses, while the 51 per cent would come from the Davao City-based North Star Asia Holding Corp.

Mr Lao said: "The OFWs would not necessarily be present in the farm; they only have to access its development by logging on in the Internet."

At one point, President Arroyo asked two brother OFW investors to share their insight on the project.

One said: "The purpose of the project is to help the OFWs invest properly their hard-earned money."

The project was first broached in 2007 during the Investment Mission to the Middle East initiated by the Davao regional office of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Mr Lao said then that the huge poultry market in the Middle East would be a big come-on for investment by OFWs in the region, which accounts for more than eight million Filipinos, the biggest group of foreign workers.

Mrs Arroyo did not say how much disposable income was available among OFWs, but she said their remittances reached $17 billion last year.

She said: "The reason they are sending more money now than before even with the recession is that they intend not only to sustain their families here, but also to invest part of the money they earn here.

"In Canada, for instance, Filipinos there told me that they now find the Philippines a haven for investment," she told the gathering which witnessed the presentation of the signed memorandum of agreement (MOA) among the participating companies and government agencies, including the Maharlika Agro-Marine Ventures, SMFI, the DTI and the DOLE.

The DTI, the DOLE and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples also signed a separate MOA with Davao City-based Sagrex Corp. in a saba banana-production venture.

Brothers Dodong and Willie Boy Banquerigo said they travelled from their hometown in General Santos City, 150 kilometres south of here, to invest in the virtual poultry farm.

Meanwhile, Mrs Arroyo distributed the DOLE Kabuhayan Starter Kit certificates to representatives of 300 farmers, beneficiaries, mostly members of the Tagabawa-Bagobo tribal farmers in Davao del Sur, who would also use DOLE training programmes, according to Business Mirror.

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