ANIMAL nutrition provider Cargill is investing P12.5 billion ($235 million) to grow its business in the Philippines over the next two years, amid rising domestic demand for chicken and pork.
Philip G. Soliven, president of Cargill Philippines, Inc., said the funds will be used to expand its animal feed and nutrition business, as well as agricultural supply chain business.
“The focus is not necessarily on the specific areas of investment but on the fact that is a very significant number for investments in food and agriculture sector in the Philippines,” he said during a press conference in Taguig City on Wednesday.
“Investments in agriculture are sorely needed by the country. Cargill is one of the companies that said we’re going to respond to the need for more investments in the sector. We’re going to do it because it makes sense for the company,” he added.
Dave MacLennan, Cargill chairman and chief executive officer, said the company’s investment in the Philippines is part of its bigger plan to expand in Southeast Asia and China.
“Southeast Asia and China are top regions for investment and growth in the next five years. We want to get bigger in Asia, specifically Southeast Asia and China and that is really our intention… P12.5 billion is specifically for the Philippines. We have other capital budget for Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia,” Mr. MacLennan said during the same briefing.
Cargill is celebrating its 70th anniversary in the Philippines, having opened its first office in 1948. Cargill currently has 2,200 employees in 27 locations in the country.
The company is also marking the first anniversary of C-Joy, its joint venture with Philippine fast food giant Jollibee Foods Corporation. C-Joy is a facility that processes chicken for domestic consumption.
“Jollibee is among our major customers in the business and I think we will continue to support Jollibee requirements,” Mr. Soliven said.
Mr. Soliven also said Cargill will continue to invest in the copra oil business despite falling prices.
“Rest assured, we remain a significant copra oil exporter in the Philippines and we will continue to do so. We continue to have faith in the business,” he said.
At the same time, Cargill is contributing P7 million ($130,000) to the Inclusive Business Capacity Building Fund for Filipino farmers.
“Supporting the Inclusive Business Capacity Building Fund is another way we can help the world build food security. Smallholder farmers are an essential piece of feeding nearly 10 billion people by 2050 and they need all the help they can get to become more productive and profitable,” Mr. MacLennan said. — R.J.N.Ignacio