The Regional Board of Investments in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (RBOI-ARMM) said that ARMM is eager to supply the need for cassava and cassava flour of Nestle’s P2-billion protomalt processing plant for its Milo health food drink.
In the recent report, Nestle announced that construction of the malt plant in Lipa, Batangas which began in December 2015 is expected to be completed in October 2017. Nestle sought the help of the Department of Agriculture to source and increase supply of cassava for its plant.
The main ingredients of the Milo drink consist of barley and cassava.
Based on the 2016 report,, ARMM recorded the highest production of cassava in the country at 423,650 metric tons and contributed 55.6 percent to total cassava output.
With ARMM as the country’s biggest producer of cassava. RBOI-ARMM chairman and managing head, Lawyer Ishak Mastura believes that the region has a great economic opportunity.
“We have discussed with the ARMM economic cluster agencies that the ARMM has a great economic opportunity with the planned establishment of the Nestle protomalt plant, whose main ingredient is cassava, because we are the country’s biggest producer of cassava,” Mastura said.
Mastura added that with this huge economic opportunity, the cassava farmers affected by the Marawi crisis would benefit a lot in this project by expanding their production and encourage new planters.
“In line with the rehabilitation and recovery of Marawi City and Lanao del Sur after the Marawi siege and considering that cassava in the ARMM is mainly produced in Lanao del Sur, the government can support our cassava farmers to expand their production and encourage new planters by building the logistics supply chain to meet the huge demand from Nestle and other end buyers,” he added.
According to RBOI, the top producer of cassava in ARMM is Malabang, Lanao del Sur. This is because Malabang is the homebase of one of the country’s oldest corporation, Matling Industrial and Commercial Corporation, founded in 1928, the country’s leading cassava plantation and cassava flour milling.
As this developed, ARMM Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman welcomed the opportunity for cassava farmers in the region to increase prices for their produce with the establishment of Nestle’s protomalt plant.
“What we want to happen is that economies of scale can bring the cost of production down, which will in turn bring up the net profit for our cassava farmers.” Hataman said. (ltoBolongon/pbchangco/PIA/Cotabato City with report from RBOI-ARMM)