Tag Archives: agriculture

Touching base – Rivera describes US envoy visit

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Meeting up with local government officials and businessmen.

This was how General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera described the visit today of US Ambassador Philip Goldberg.

General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera (right) welcomes US Ambassador Philip Goldberg (middle) at the city hall.Pic by Edwin Espejo
General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera (right) welcomes US Ambassador Philip Goldberg (middle) at the city hall.Pic by Edwin Espejo

Goldberg arrived here on board a US embassy airplane and quickly proceeded to the General Santos City Fish Port Complex before making a courtesy call to the office of the city mayor.

The 30-minute meeting was off limits to the media with only Mayor Rivera, Vice Mayor Shirlyn Bañas, City Administrator Arnel Zapatos and City Legal Officer Armand Clarin holding conference with Glodberg and 3 other embassy officials.

US Ambassador Philip Goldberg (in blue shirt) holds a closed door meting with Mayor Rivera and Vice Mayor Shirlyn Bañas (left).Pic by Edwin Espejo
US Ambassador Philip Goldberg (in blue shirt) holds a closed door meting with Mayor Rivera and Vice Mayor Shirlyn Bañas (left).Pic by Edwin Espejo

He did not field questions from the media who waited at the city hall lobby.

“The ambassador wanted to personally see General Santos City after reading and hearing about our place,” the city mayor said.

Rivera said the visit was also a result of an invitation he extended to the US Ambassador when they were introduced together at a function of the American Chamber of Commerce and Industry several months ago.

Goldberg also had a luncheon meeting with members of the General Santos City Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the Greenleaf Hotel.

He later told the local station of ABS-CBN that the US is upbeat on the potential of Mindanao in agriculture and mining but also expressed concerns over delays and obstacles in obtaining licenses and permits for mining companies.

The US ambassador likewise said grants and aids from the American government are now geared towards areas in Mindanao recovering from armed conflict.

“In a way,” banker Orman Manansala said, “we have become victim of our own success.”

General Santos was recipient of one of the largest grants from the US government by way of funding the construction of the city’s airport facilities.

It was part of the international pledging session during the early years of the Cory Aquino administration.

Construction of the airport began in 1993 and was finished in 1996.

Built at the cost of US$47.6 million largely funded by USAID, it was inaugurated for commercial flights shortly thereafter.

DA eyes export of pork products

GENERAL SANTOS CITY — The agriculture department in Region 12 said it may start exporting cut pork meat products from the region to various foreign markets.

Amalia Jayag-Datukan, Department of Agriculture (DA) Region 12 executive director, said among the possible export markets are Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and Singapore.

She said negotiations with these countries and local producers in the region are ongoing.

“We are working on this (pork exports) now and hopefully it will materialize soon,” she said in their regular television program Agri Tayo Soccsksargen.

Region 12 is the country’s leading producer of “pork-in-a-box” producers.

“We want our pork-in-a-box products to also reach the foreign markets just like our premium rice,” Datukan said.

Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong and Cotabato.

Data from the DA Region 12’s Veterinary Quarantine Services showed that the region produced a total of 124,366 heads of excess hogs in 2013 that were valued at around P1.09 billion.

In terms of pork, the area produced around 12,347 metric tons last year that were valued at P1.97 billion.

About 28 percent of the area’s hog produce ended up at the Matutum Meat Packing Corp (MMPC) based in Polomolok town in South Cotabato, 26 percent to Metro Manila and 13 percent to Cebu.

DA initially forged a deal with Singapore in early 2007 for the shipment of fresh cuts and processed pork meat products to the area from the Makar port here.

The area was chosen by the national government to initiate the country’s pork exports since Mindanao had been certified free from the dreaded foot-and-mouth disease by the Office International des Epizooties or World Organization for Animal Health.

DA had tapped two Mindanao firms — the MMPC and the Davao City-based Nenita Quality Foods Corp. — to pilot the pork exports then.

MMPC, a sister company of Cebu-based Sunpride Foods Inc. which produces Holiday corned beef and Sunpride canned goods, had invested around P200 million for a state-of-the-art processing plant in Polomolok town.

But the agreement eventually fell through without any single shipment making it to Singapore due to problems with the national government’s policies and the detection of the Ebola Reston virus in a hog farm in Luzon.