MANILA, March 25, 2006
 (STAR) By Rocel C. Felix - A consortium led by the Fuhua Agricultural Group of China is investing $5 billion to develop a state-of-the-art agro-industrial park and develop one million hectares of hybrid corn farms in the Philippines.

The Fuhua Group led by its chairman and chief executive officer Liu Ye signed a memorandum of agreement yesterday with Filipino-Chinese company SL Agritech Corp. owned by Henry Lim Bon Liong and governors of six local government units (LGUs).

Ye said the partnership with the LGUs and SL Agritech , one of the pioneers in hybrid rice production in the Philippines, will boost its efforts to establish its presence in the Philippines.

The Chinese consortium has already discussed the projectís framework with Agriculture Secretary Domingo F. Panganiban, Presidential Adviser on Job Creation Arthur Yap, Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Favila and Environment and Natural Resources Undersecretary Demetrio Ignacio.

The proposed agro-industrial processing center to be put up in one of the six participating LGUs that include Camarines Sur, Lanao del Norte, Isabela, Occidental Mindoro, Tarlac and Nueva Ecija, will include a feed mill with a 200,000 metric tons (MT) capacity for hog, chicken and cattle feeds.

The other facilities to be put up in the medium-term include a brewery and a crispy food factory with a 100,000 MT and 50,000 MT capacity, respectively.

A corn processing plant will produce 1.76 million MT of milky starch, 600,000 MT of ethanol, 1.77 million MT of fiber feed, 62,200 MT of corn protein, 39,400 MT of corn oil and 260,000 MT of amino acid.

An animal product processing plant is envisioned to have a cattle raising base with adult cattle capacity of 100,000 heads and young cattle capacity of 33,000 heads. A slaughterhouse with a 100,000 head capacity will produce high quality and mid-range beef, cattle bone and skin.

To maximize the use of animal by-products, a biological medicine producing garden will be set up to produce 1,690 MT of medicine and high-tech biological products and multi-functional food.

At the same time, an agricultural and animal products flow center will take care of storage with the building of silos, installation of drying equipment, purchase of trucks and forklifts, construction of an office building and an agricultural and animal products flow center.

A critical support component of the project is the use of cultivated as well as waste and idle land to plant one million hectares of China hybrid corn in the country which is seen to yield 14 million MT annually.

The group also intends to plant 300,000 hectares of China hybrid sorghum with an expected yield of 4.2 million MT yearly.

Ye said corn and sorghum production experts as well as animal processing and agriculture technology exports will be working with local personnel to start up the project.

Ye expressed optimism the project will substantially increase local corn production by 18.2 million MT and end the countryís dependence on corn importation. Moreover, it will create at least one million jobs and increase farmersí income.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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