ARMM seeks to supply cassava for Nestle plant

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COTABATO CITY: The Regional Board of Investments (RBOI) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) said on Wednesday that the ARMM is eager to supply cassava and cassava flour to Nestle’s P2-billion protomalt processing plant for its Milo health food drink.

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Nestle recently announced that construction of the Milo malt plant in Lipa, Batangas began in December 2015 and is expected to be completed in October 2017.

Earlier, it was reported that Nestle sought the help of the Department of Agriculture to source and increase the supply of cassava for its Milo plant.

The main ingredients for the Milo drink processing plant are barley and cassava. In 2016, ARMM recorded the highest production of cassava in the country at 423,650 metric tons and contributed 55.6 percent to total cassava output.

Nestle’s protomalt is a mixture of different types of carbohydrates that reportedly provides energy and nutrients that the body needs.

“We have discussed with the ARMM economic cluster agencies that the ARMM has a great economic opportunity with the planned establishment of the Nestle protomalt plant, whose main ingredient is cassava, because we are the country’s biggest producer of cassava,” said lawyer Ishak Mastura, chairman and managing head of RBOI.

“In line with the rehabilitation and recovery of Marawi City and Lanao del Sur after the Marawi siege and considering that cassava in the ARMM is mainly produced in Lanao del Sur, the government can support our cassava farmers to expand their production and encourage new planters by building the logistics supply chain to meet the huge demand from Nestle and other end buyers,” added Mastura.

The biggest producer of cassava in the ARMM is Malabang, Lanao del Sur. This is because Malabang is the home base of one of the country’s oldest corporations, Matling Industrial and Commercial Corporation, founded in 1928, which leads the country in cassava plantation and cassava flour milling.

For his part, ARMM Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman welcomed the opportunity for cassava farmers in the region to increase prices for their produce.

“What we want to happen is that economies of scale can bring the cost of production down, which will in turn bring up the net profit for our cassava farmers,” said Hataman.

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