Asia's first ever 1,500-hectare "all-organic" Cavendish banana

e-mail icon

Asia's first ever 1,500-hectare "all-organic" Cavendish banana farm was opened on Monday.

The farm is being developed jointly by a group of Muslim religious leaders, local entrepreneurs and two multinational benefactors, the Univex and the Delinanas, a subsidiary of the international Del Monte fruit firm.

Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu told reporters the foreign capitalists of the “all organic” banana farm were motivated by how they can help change the image of Ampatuan municipality, tarnished by the gruesome politically motivated massacre on  Nov. 23, 2009 of 58 people, among them his wife, Jenalyn.

Also present in the on-field launching rite was Costa Rican entrepreneur-technocrat, Gonzalo Ordeñana, who is helping put up the banana farm, and his counterparts in the AMARDI, cleric Abdulwahid Sumauang, and Akmad Bullecer.

The farm will initially employ 2,000 Moro workers to propagate Cavendish bananas on contiguous rented lands owned by local residents.

The symbolic start of the plantation’s operation was jointly officiated by Mangudadatu, local officials led Mayor Rasul Sangki, Brig. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, and Agriculture Secretary Makmod Mending, Jr. of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Mending said the ARMM government is thankful to Mangudadatu for convincing foreign investors to help fund the project.

“We are encouraging free enterprise here. The ARMM just helped in the legalization of their entry to Maguindanao and provided them with technical support needed to hasten the realization of their dream to have this plantation in this once hostile area,” Mending said.

Sumauang said they will use only organic agricultural farm inputs to showcase the viability of environment-friendly agriculture, which is essential in the protection of the environment.

“This is certainly the first ever organic banana farm in Asia,” Sumauang said.