|Nueva Ecija Gov. Aurelio Umali.|
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Nueva Ecija seeks bond with Korean firm for P30-M mango processing plant
SAN LEONARDO, Nueva Ecija, August 13, 2011-The provincial government is eyeing a tie-up with a Korean food processing company for the establishment of a P30-million mango processing plant here in line with its goal of turning the province into a food basket in Luzon.
Governor Aurelio “Oyie” Matias Umali revealed that a 1,000-square meter mango processing facility is now fine-tuning partnership with Drupe International, Inc., saying that the partnership, which is in line with the public private partnership (PPP) scheme being espoused by the Aquino administration, will harness the province’s potentials as a major mango-producing area.
“The province now ranks first in Luzon in terms of mango production with vast tracts of mango plantations in this town and the municipalities of General Tinio, Jaen and Talavera,” he said.
“With this partnership with Drupe, we expect mango production in Nueva Ecija - already tops in Luzon - to further increase and pump-prime the agricultural economy of the province as the number one (1) undisputed mango-producing-products in the country,” he added.
Umali furthered that he assigned Board Member Romanito Juatco to manage the proposed processing plant, saying that the province’s mango production is so enormous that during peak harvest, it produces 62 million kilos of mango of which 58 percent is exported to Cebu province.
Juatco said that the governor wants the province to process its own mango products through a partnership with Drupe.
Drupe has a 2,000-square meter plant inside the Philexcel Business Park at the Clark Freeport Zone. The five-year-old firm, which started as Welsum Foodtech, Inc. on January 25, 2006, is known as the first innovative company which developed and created a new market for frozen fruits on stick in the world.
Equipped with modern, hygienic production and quality control facility that conforms to international standards, Drupe has a capability to freeze fruits that maintain their freshness and sensory properties of the original fruits up to two years using the latest cryogenic freezing technology.
Cryogenic freezing is an advanced, accelerated form of blasting freezing in which individual food products are exposed to sprays of liquid nitrogen or carbon dioxide at a temperature of -196 degrees Celcius or colder. This allows formation of small ice crystals inside the cell of the products, maintaining their freshness unlike slow freezing which can damage products because the process produces large crystals that pierce and damage cell walls.
Eui Kwon Chung of Drupe said the key benefits of the firm’s frozen products are that they offer cheap alternative to costly importation of ripe fruits, easy alternative to fresh fruits preparation, ensure off-season availability and in-season quality and offer fresh alternative to traditional food preservation methods.
Its wide range of products – from mangoes, pineapple, banana cavendish, strawberry, papaya, melon cantaloupe, avocado, rambutan, custard apple (atis), sapodilla (chico) fruits yogurt – to vegetables such as okra, asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots and radish - are mostly exported to developed foreign markets such as Asia (Japan and China), Europe (France) and North America and other non-tropical countries.
Juatco said that a new corporation to be named Newco will be organized with initial capitalization of P10 million with par value of P1 per share under the Terms of Reference for the proposed joint venture between Drupe and the provincial government.
The Newco will be composed of seven (7) board of directors. Four (4) from Drupe and three (3) from the provincial government which will buy-in 49 percent of interest in the firm’s 4.9 million shares out of the 10 million authorized shares of stock.
The provincial government will also pay upon execution of the agreement 20 percent of the amount due held in trust with the 80 percent to be paid after 60 days, inclusive of the 45-day due diligence period to ascertain the values of assets, goodwill, proprietary rights as well as liabilities and commitments.
Juatco said Newco will embark on the processing and marketing of mango, papaya, pineapple and banana although more products will be added based on market demand. Newco will accept processing of products for clients other than the provincial government although the latter will be given utmost priority for its manufacturing requirements to maximize profits.
Drupe will provide technical personnel to operate the factory, oversee its daily operations, engage in product research and development and develop local and international markets under the agreement.
The provincial government will provide adequate and sufficient supply and quality of raw materials for processing and ensure competitive pricing aside from remittances. (Jason de Asis)
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