Modern, organic banana plantation rising in Maguindanao

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Monday, August 4, 2014


BULUAN, Maguindanao – With its vast and idle agricultural lands available, Maguindanao province is now becoming the region’s emerging agricultural giant with the launching last week of Asia’s first ever environment friendly 1,500 hectare banana farm in Ampatuan town.

The new “all organic” Cavendish banana farm near the site of the infamous “Maguindanao Massacre” sounded interesting to their contacts abroad, who learned about it via social media, according to Maguindanaon businesswoman Bai Sandra Siang, chair of the Muslim Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Kutawato.

Siang said the banana venture, the first in the province, involves Muslim clerics as its main operator, the Al-Mujahidun Agro Resources and Development, Inc. (Amardi).

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Aside from banana plantation, Amardi officials reported that the venture also includes the establishment of an Islamic school, a hospital, and a “halal” food processing plant in the area to help address poverty and underdevelopment in Barangay Masalay in Ampatuan town.

Barangay Masalay is the site of the country’s worst political violence that claimed some 58 lives, more than half of whom were journalists, blamed on the former political clan of Maguindanao – the Ampatuans.

“We in the local business community shall support this capital intensive project. This will benefit the Moro communities in the municipality of Ampatuan,” Siang said in an interview.

Maguindanao businessmen attributed the entry of foreign investors to the ongoing peace process initiated by the Aquino government.

Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu said he was elated at how the foreign traders now see the province which had been transformed from hotbed of Moro rebellion into a growing economic tiger, at least in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). (PNA)

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 04, 2014.

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