METRO Pacific Investment Corp. (MPIC) announced on Thursday that its new unit, Metro Pacific Agro Ventures (MPAV), and Israel’s LR Group are investing P2 billion for the expansion of its existing dairy business.

“We are now talking to banks,” MPAV President Jovy I. Hernandez said during the groundbreaking of the company’s facility in Bay, Laguna.

They aim to annually produce at least six million liters of milk.

“The construction of the facility will start in 2023 and take approximately two years to finish. Operations are estimated to commence by late 2025 to early 2026,” MPAV said.

With MPAV’s establishment of Metro Pacific Dairy Farms in cooperation with the LR Group, the Province of Laguna, the University of the Philippines-Los Baños, the Department of Trade and Industry, and the National Dairy Authority, “a better, fresher Philippine dairy industry will be made possible,” it added.

LR Group offers tailor-made solutions based on its hosting partners’ needs and resources. It focuses on sectors ranging from construction and renewable energy to communication and water treatment.

MPAV was set up by MPIC to be the arm that will drive all agricultural endeavors and the ambition to develop the food sufficiency of the Philippines’ agricultural sector, starting with the growth of Philippine dairy as an industry, according to the company.

MPIC started its foray into the dairy business by partnering with Carmen’s Best Group.

MPAV noted that the Philippines imports a little over 2.8 million metric tons or 99% of its milk and milk by products due to poor feed and management practices, high production costs, and the lack of adequate dairy infrastructure.

“MPAV’s mission to expand dairy farming allows over 10,000 Filipino farmers to have a better livelihood. Beyond that, the conglomerate can also help the Philippines become a more self-sufficient dairy-producing nation,” the company said.

“This will lead MPAV closer to its vision of a healthier Philippines thanks to nutritious, fresh, and locally produced dairy and other milk derivatives.” — Arjay L. Balinbin