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BOI approves coco firm project in Ph

MAKATI CITY, Philippines – The Philippine Board of Investments (BOI) recently approved the application of Lionheart GPPAC Farmers Corp. as new export producer of virgin coconut oil, coconut flour and tender green coconuts under the export activities category of the current Investment Priorities Plan (IPP).
Expected to employ around 1,595 personnel, the Php321 million project involves the establishment of coconut processing plant integrated with a hybrid coconut plantation in Rizal, Palawan.
The firm will develop 2,400 hectares of hybrid coconut plantation during the initial year with upwards to 4,600 hectares in the succeeding years. Commercial harvest is expected after three and a half years from planting. Lionheart has already planted 100,000 hybrid coconut trees to date and is continuous planting to cover the reach of the area.
Meanwhile, the processing plant will be established in year one. Raw materials for the processing plant will be sourced by buying coconuts from nearby coconut farmers and cooperatives until the expected harvest.
Trade Undersecretary for Industry Development and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo the lauded the project saying this augurs well to the government’s inclusive business (IB) thrust which aims to reduce poverty, generate more jobs, and sustain inclusive growth.
“Recognizing the power of IBs in achieving inclusive growth, the government is promoting these models and encouraging more companies to adopt IB models or develop IB solutions,” said Undersecretary Rodolfo. One such effort is the inclusion of IB policy in BOI’s proposed IPP where registered enterprises are encouraged to adopt IB strategy that provides goods and services and income and decent work opportunities for the low-income segment of the society within the enterprise’s supply or value chain, directly contributing to the improvement of living standards and poverty reduction.
IBs are innovative models where companies engage the poor and low-income communities as partners, customers, suppliers, and employees in their supply chains not out of charity, but because it makes good business sense. The integration of these communities into global value chains improves their quality of lives and makes for better business with diversified supply and distribution systems.
Commercial operation of the processing plant is expected to begin in May 2017. The firm has already started construction of the cocohub facilities last December 2016. Various equipment in the company warehouses awaits for installation after the construction is finished.
Lionheart will produce virgin coconut oil at 883,200 kilograms (kgs) annually, coconut flour at 76,800 kgs, and tender green coconuts at 50.6 million units. These products will be exported to the United States, Europe, Japan, Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong.
“This will further boost the country’s exports of coconut and its by-products which are now in demand in other countries,” said Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo.
Latest export figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed the coconut products exports totaled $1.26 billion from January to November 2016. For the month of November alone, exports are up $43% to $151.3 million, from $106 million during the same month in 2015.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.