COTABATO CITY – The Hong Kong Feng Seng Heritage Philippines Inc. (HK FSH) and Hofer Hacienda is set to put up a P100-million abaca fiber processing plant in the southern Philippines after the government approved the registration of the joint venture in Lanao del Sur’s Balabagan town.
Manolito Hofer, HK FHS Chief Executive Officer, said that the project is part of his personal advocacy to end armed struggle and push for development in his home province. “HK FHS plans to establish additional 10,000 hectares of abaca plantations through contract growing all over the region, including Zamboanga Peninsula to generate around 20,000 or more workers in the next few years” he said.
HK FSH will also set up an abaca tissue culture laboratory and nursery to supply its plantation needs. Initially, the nursery targets at 2,000 plantlets for 1,000 hectares in its first year of operations and increases as the project expands in the years to come.
The plant which initially employs 107 workers has a starting capacity of 12,000 metric tons of abaca fiber at 10 percent increase annually. All products will be exported to China for pulp making through Bloomfield (Xingtai) Specialty Paper Co. Ltd. Bloomfield supplies pulps to paper mills in China and the world.
The abaca is known worldwide as the “Manila Hemp”, with the Philippines as a top producer and exporter. The abaca fiber is considered the strongest of natural fibers and is three times stronger than cotton.
Data from the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority shows the Muslim autonomous region as among the top five abaca producing regions in the country and contributing 10% of the total abaca production. Lanao del Sur is second only to Sulu province in abaca production and ranks 7th in the Philippines. The province has an approximate 5,621 hectares with an average yield of 0.69 metric tons per hectare of abaca production.
The registration of HK FSH will allow the company to avail of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives from the government such as income tax holidays, duty free importation on capital equipment and other applicable incentives upon start of the project’s commercial operation. (With additional reporting from the Mindanao Examiner.)
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