BACOLOD CITY – The City of Cadiz in northern Negros Occidental is positioning itself to become an agricultural hub that will supply goods to Metro Manila through the connection between the ports of Cadiz and Batangas.
Mayor Salvador Escalante Jr. on Tuesday said the development is envisioned by Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. for Cadiz and the adjacent localities in the second district, including Sagay City and Manapla town.
“He envisions our city and the neighboring towns and cities to be a potential agriculture hub for Metro Manila, using our Cadiz port and the port of Batangas as the conduit ports. The goods here will be brought to Batangas, from Batangas to Metro Manila,” he said in an interview.
Farm produce such as sugar and other agricultural products came from the northern part of the province, while farm inputs and machinery entered the province through the Cadiz port.
Escalante said there are plans to expand or further develop the Cadiz City Commercial Port.
“We are working on it. We hope within the year, we can start if not early next year,” he added.
Escalante said Cadiz, which has 54,000 hectares of land, has vast potential as the city government also opened up its marginal lands to become productive.
“Its agricultural land is ready for investment. In support, the city invested in the concreting of roads starting two to three years ago. These are part of the support programs and projects introduced by the city for investors who want to come here,” he said.
Escalante said private groups are targeting to plant 1.2 million coffee and coconut trees on 1,500 hectares of land, with an initial 100,000 trees already planted on almost 100 hectares.
“This is a big thing for reforestation of mountains, not just using lumber, but fruit-bearing trees,” he added.
Escalante said a feed mill producer has also expressed interest in building a plant in Cadiz considering that the city and its neighboring areas have substantial chicken and cattle production.
“Cadiz is an open city for business. We are demonstrating a capacity to provide ease in doing business,” he added.
Currently, the northern Negros city hosts the 132-megawatt Home Vena Energy’s Helios Solar Power Plant (HSPP) in Barangay Tinampa-an.
Commissioned in 2015, the HSPP, which occupies a land area of 176 hectares, is considered the biggest in Southeast Asia and the seventh largest in the world.
Zonal Renewables Corp. and A.M. Hijos Inc. of the prominent Montelibano family also proposed to develop a 100-MW floating solar power farm on a 90-hectare fishpond in Barangay Tinampa-an. (PNA)