JAPAN  FIRM  EXPANDS  BANANA  PLANTATION  INVESTMENT  BY  P1 BILLION

MANILA, JULY 11, 2006
(STAR) By Aurea Calica - Japanese firm Sumitomo Fruits Corp. (Sumifru), a subsidiary of the Sumitomo Corp. of Japan, announced yesterday a P1-billion expansion project for its banana plantation business in Mindanao.

President Arroyo welcomed the company’s expansion move, which was announced by Sumifru president Paul Cuyegkeng during a courtesy call at Malacañang.

Cuyegkeng said Sumifru will undertake a major expansion of its banana plantation, bringing to P6.5 billion its total investment in the banana plantation since December 2004.

The Philippines is among the major exporters of bananas and fruits to Japan, Korea, New Zealand, the Middle East, Hong Kong and China.

Sumifru has been developing 4,000 hectares of land in T’boli, Calinan, Toril and North Cotabato for its banana plantation project.

"In December 2004, we promised the President that we were going to expand our operations. At that time, we promised that we were going to plant 4,000 hectares and spend P800 million to develop the infrastructure to support it," Cuyegkeng said.

"Now, one and a half years later, we are happy to report that we are going to plant much more than 4,000 hectares. In fact, we’re going to plant 5,800 hectares and we are going to spend P1 billion more for infrastructure," he added.

Sumifru’s expansion program is expected to generate jobs and livelihood opportunities for 12,000 residents in the plantation areas.

Cuyegkeng described his company’s dealings with the Arroyo administration as "easy," thus enabling them to accomplish more in a shorter period of time.

Cuyegkeng, together with Sumitomo Corp.’s senior manager Yoshi Morimoto, chairman Joichi Saito, general manager Shoichi Sato, and Sumifru Philippines general manager Jesus Mercado Jr., thanked the President for "helping them help the Philippines."

"We are very happy to do this because it has been very easy for us working in the Philippines. It has been very fruitful and we thank the President and her administration for all their assistance," Cuyegkeng said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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