A weekly shipment of more than 66 tonnes of Philippine bananas from Davao City to Qatar is now under negotiation following the success of the recently held Qatar Philippine Food Security Summit in Doha, it was announced.
In a statement, Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) consultant and special adviser to the director general for the Middle East and Northern Europe, Joseph Timothy Rivera, said apart from bananas, more food commodities are expected to be imported to the country.
He noted that Qatari companies – Al Raed Fresh Food Processing, Agri Green Qatar, Life Producing Co, Dawas Qatar, Al Hakeem Group, United Trading Co, MEAC, Tawar Mall, Naser Al Misnad Est, and several others expressed keenness in importing Philippine food products.
Apart from the Philippine government-owned ancestral domain lands, which could be outsourced by Qatari farm operators, Rivera said two private real estate companies in the Philippines are also offering 16,000 hectares, which can be used for agriculture and agro-tourism.
These companies, which were present during the summit, are the Philippine Countryside Homes and Homeland Development Company, being the Philippine representative company of BGS-BLQ Consortium, and Doha-based Direct Real Estate.
Rivera noted that most of the lands are located in the provinces of Iloilo, Guimaras, Cebu and Cavite, which can be leased for 75 years through joint ventures.
Three Qatari companies expressed interest in these lands and have already received relevant portfolios, the Peza official said.
Rivera said the summit concluded with five new ecozone locators signing letter of intent with an initial investment pledge of P70mn (QR5.4mn).
These companies include New Methods for Services, which will open business consulting services within ecozones; Al Adaam SPA, which will be a wellness locator in select tourist ecozones in Iloilo, Cebu and Tagaytay; JAPA Garments, which will be expanding their existing garments manufacturing operations to the Pampanga Economic Zone; LiQha Enterprises and JRENS Food Trading Philippines, which will be opening export companies for food exports to Qatar.
“Qatar continues to be the Middle East hub of Peza despite recent events in the region and continues to ensure not only the realisation but also the sustainability of all its solicited investments from Qatar and the rest of the GCC countries,” Rivera added.
Peza will participate in the upcoming Philippine Trade and Toursim Conference – Qatar, scheduled to be held at the Shangri-La Doha on October 20.