DAVAO CITY-- A Malaysian company is targeting to complete the feasibility study of the proposed agro-economic zone (AEZ) in Lanao del Sur within the year according to an official of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).
“We talked to them last month and they would like to complete the FS within the year. Hindi pa yan construction after the FS because they will find out if yung AEZ will be profitbale for them because the private sector profit is their bottomline,” said Joan Barrera, MinDA Project Development Division head.
Barrera, who refused to give full details of the Malaysian company, told media that if the Malaysian company find the proposed AEZ in Lanao del Sur to be profitable they will be the proponent of the project and the proponent together with the Local Government Unit (LGU) will work towards the declaration of that and they will submit the requirements to the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA).
She said there will be three stages before its development: the PEZA board will approve it first, then the President of the Republic of the Philippines will declare it as an economic zone, and the PEZA register it as an ecozone development.
The proposed AEZ in Lanao del Sur is one of the conceptualized AEZs of the seven pilot areas in Mindanao located in provinces namely Agusan del Sur that allocated five hectares in Bayugan City, 25 hectares in Basilan in Lamitan City, 25 hectares in Lanao del Sur in Pikong municipality, 35 hectares in Maguindanao in Buluan, Zamboanga del Norte there is an existing Provincial agro industrial zone 52 hectares, Zamboanga del Sur 40 hectares, and 409 hectares in Zamboanga Sibugay.
These AEZ areas were identified by the provincial government units and of the seven areas, five areas were owned by LGUs and two areas were owned by private sectors. Three AEZs are also located in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM): Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, and Basilan. The other four areas are non-BARMM.
These AEZs will be implemented through Public Private Partnership (PPP).
“We completed the conceptualization of these AEZs last year, conducted the business case and the conceptual framework of the seven and the main idea behind the AEZs,” said Yvette Valderia, development management officer of MinDA project development division.
An agro-economic zone is a geographic cluster of independent firms grouped together to gain economies of scale and positive externalities by sharing infrastructure and taking advantage of opportunities for bulk purchasing and selling, training courses and extension services.
AEZs will have modern infrastructure. General infrastructure includes roads, power, water, communications, drainage, sewerage, a sewage treatment plant and an effluent treatment plant, among others.
While specialized infrastructure consists of cold storage units, quarantine facilities, quality control laboratories, quality certification centers, raw material storage, and central processing centers, among other specialized infrastructure.
Each AEZ is served by a network of Agri-Trading Centers (ATCs) which provides linkages to producers.
The growing area requirement, existing and potential, to produce the raw materials that would be required by the agro-industrial enterprises targeted to locate in the AEZs will be secured by a land use declaration by the LGU with local incentives for investment in the production of commodities.
“We are looking at establishing one AEZ in a given province and also link the manufacturers to the farmers. We wanted the development to be inclusive,” Valderia said.
The agro-economic zones is among the catalytic or banner projects identified and conceptualized by by MinDa. Other identified projects include Tawi Tawi Freeport Shipment Hub, Pikong Freeport Economic Zones, Islamic finance, and Halal industry.
“We do mobilization of priority projects in Mindanao specifically catalytic projects, which are banner or priority projects of MinDA supporting the Mindanao Development corridors. Our services and concepts include facilitating feasibility studies and conceptual model and up to the mobilizing funds to budget to fund the project,” Barrera said.