METRO PACIFIC Investments Corp.’s (MPIC) agribusiness arm Metro Pacific Agro Ventures, Inc. (MPAV) is planning to put up a 3,000-hectare (ha) corn farm in Mindoro, its chairman said.

This initiative aims to support the company’s dairy business, MPIC Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer Manuel V. Pangilinan told reporters on Thursday last week.

MPAV also plans to increase its investment in dairy farms to bolster milk supply.

“For Carmen’s Best, we are running out of milk. So, we are looking to invest in other dairy farms; we are looking at least two more,” Mr. Pangilinan said.

MPAV conducts most of its dairy business through the Carmen’s Best ice cream brand.

MPIC has a partnership with the Carmen’s Best group, which includes Carmen’s Best Dairy Products, Inc., Carmen’s Best International Dairy Co., Inc., Real Fresh Dairy Farms, Inc., and The Laguna Creamery, Inc.

At the same time, Mr. Pangilinan said the group’s vegetable greenhouse facility in San Rafael, Bulacan, will begin operations by the fourth quarter of this year.

“The first phase is seven hectares, and we will proceed to double that in 2025,” he added.

The Bulacan facility aims to address the vegetable demand in the Greater Manila Area, Bulacan, and Tarlac.

MPAV has allocated P800 million to P1 billion for the greenhouse project, which is expected to produce approximately 1,600 metric tons of vegetables annually.

Mr. Pangilinan said that MPAV aims to strengthen its presence in the local agriculture sector by investing in other agriculture-related companies.

“We’re looking at several already, one is related to coconuts,” he added. “(Coconut) is a primary agri product in the country, so a great deal of its byproducts are exportable.”

MPAV recently finalized a deal to acquire a 34.76% stake in coconut product manufacturer Axelum Resources Corp.

MPIC is one of three key Philippine units of First Pacific, the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT Inc.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Adrian H. Halili