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Cassava industry gets boost

About P30 million will be infused monthly to cassava growers of Negros Occidental for their produce to be used for the production of alcohol by Ginebra San Miguel Inc. for its distillery in Bago City, Negros Occidental, GSMI business farming operations head Edmundo Yonque said yesterday.

Yonque said the Bago distillery needs 4,000 metric tons of dried cassava chips monthly as raw material for alcohol production. The company now buys dried and chipped cassava at P7.50 per kilo which translates to P30 million if produced by Negrense cassava growers, he added.

GSMI business procurement group head, Redentor Galura, said the company wants to make use of the idle and unproductive lands for a profitable alternative and regular source of income as well, he added.

He said the company’s cassava project will also allow the company to help rural development and alleviate poverty through sustainable agriculture and a way of diversifying the crop production in the province.

GSMI also invited the cassava growers to sell their produce to authorized GSMI buyers. They can also enter through the production purchase agreement with the company, Galura said.

Through PPA, the company will provide the cooperatives with free cassava planting materials and guarantee that they will buy the produce of fresh and dried cassava at a price agreed upon by both parties, he also said.

Galura added that farmers can also retain half of the planting materials that they can either re-plant or sell to other farmers.

The company is importing 20,000 tons raw material from Vietnam and Thailand that costs them P260 million. He said that if the local cassava growers can provide enough materials, this money will be redirected to Filipinos.

GSMI has planted 160 hectares of idle lands with industrial-grade golden yellow, KU 50, and Rayong 5 cassava varieties in the eight cassava demo farms in the province, Galura said.

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