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PH, Bahrain sign P12.3B deal

President Duterte and His Royal Majesty King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa engage in a conversation prior to the signing ceremony of agreements between the Philippines and Bahrain at the Sakhir Palace in Bahrain. (Presidential photo)

President Duterte and His Royal Majesty King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa engage in a conversation prior to the signing ceremony of agreements between the Philippines and Bahrain at the Sakhir Palace in Bahrain. (Presidential photo)

By ROY MABASA

MANAMA, Bahrain – President Duterte witnessed the signing of an agreement between private companies from both the Philippines and Bahrain that will expand its existing banana plantation operation in Mindanao, particularly in Davao, targeting additional 10,000 hectares of farmland for agricultural production.

The Memorandum of Understanding, signed between AMA Group Holdings Corporation and Nader & Ebrahim Sons of Hassan Company W.L.L. (NEH) Thursday evening (early Friday morning Manila time), will allow both companies to pour in additional investment of $250-million (P12.3 billion) over three to five years to ensure successful implementation of the expansion project.

This project, which is in line with Duterte’s thrust to economically develop Mindanao, is expected to produce 560,000 metric tons of agricultural produce with export value of $280-million (P13.9 billion) annually and generate about 3,000 farmworkers and 500 back-office support staff.

The AMA Group was represented by its founder Dr. Amable Aguiluz V who is the current Special Envoy to the Gulf Cooperation Council. The NEH, on the other hand, was represented by its chairman Ebrahim Hassan Mubarak Al Ameer. The company engages in various industries from hospitality management, property development, consumer electronics, to food distribution.

Also present at the signing ceremony held in the Four Seasons here were Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and Philippine Ambassador to Bahrain Alfonso Ver.

Meanwhile, among those Bahraini businessmen who witnessed the event were Shaikh Duaij bin Isa Al Khalifa, chairman of Bahrain-Asian Traders Committee, and Khalid Almoayed, chairman of Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

In an earlier interview, Ambassador Ver revealed that, aside from bananas, the two companies also want to invest pineapples and pulses, such as lentil, monggo in Davao and General Santos City.

According to Ver, the bananas harvested in the plantation are not just for the Gulf region or Bahrain but for export to the entire world.

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