DavOr eyes to be top palm oil producer

DAVAO Oriental targets to be one of the leading suppliers of palm oil in Mindanao with the establishment of their palm oil mill and plantation in Cateel.

Out of the 45,000 hectares ancestral domain of the Mandayas in Cateel, a total of 5,000 hectares will be allotted for the development of the palm oil industry in the province.

Ednar Dayanghirang, the chief of staff of Governor Nelson Dayanghirang, said a P500-million budget will be loaned by the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) for the construction of the mill while P1.1 billion will be for used for the plantation and the maintenance of the palms themselves.

The project will be a collaboration of the Provincial Government of Davao Oriental, Roy Ponce, the Vice President of Davao Oriental State College, and of a Chinese-Malaysian expert on the oil palm industry.

Dayanghirang added that DBP is more than willing to assist the province through the loans as they have previously administered three loans in Mindanao intended for the palm oil industry. The projects where the loans were used were noted to be successful. He said DBP no longer questions the liability of this future project in Cateel because of this.

According to Dayanghirang, there are two types of mills that will be established in Cateel – the crude oil mill and the refinery mill. The P500-million budget will still be for the crude oil and additional budget for the refinery mill are still up for finalization.

“The crude is not yet edible, you still have to sell that to a refinery mill. The new technology now allows us to already put together refinery and crude palm oil in the 5,000 hectares (ha.). We will now be supplying the Mindanao market with palm oil because of this…With that refinery, another industry is born,” he said. He added that currently about 80 percent of the palm oil in Mindanao is imported.

The 5,000 ha. plantation will be located in the different barangays in Cateel while the processing mill will be built near the town’s poblacion to give access to people from Baganga and Boston.

Dayanghirang said the developed palm oil is targeted to benefit residents from the three towns in Davao Oriental even if the plantation is only located in Cateel.

About 300 Mandaya families will be involved in the planting and be directly benefiting of this project while their other family members are assured of employment priority in the mill as well.

Within this month, Dayanghirang said they are to meet with the mayors of Cateel, Banganga, and Boston where they target the official agreement will take place. By May, the feasibility study of the project will be reviewed and studied. DBP also assured funding for the said FS.

“With estimated P40,000 income per hectare per season, we look forward that the palm oil industry will provide steady revenues for our indigenous people for at least 25 years. Aside from that, it will also provide them steady employment,” said Dayanghirang adding that harvest of the palm oils are done twice every two months.

As for the province, he said the industry will help with the development of other projects as appropriate taxes will be collected.
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