Malaysian investor junks oil palm project for rubber

BY JOANNA C. BALANZA

A Malaysian investor eyeing a vast oil palm plantation in upland Marilog and Paquibato districts in Davao City has changed its plan.

Instead of oil palm it will be planting rubber, said Davao City Investment Promotions Center (DCIPC) officer Ivan Cortez.

Representatives of Felda Global Ventures (FGV) Holdings of Malaysia earlier visited potential sites in Marilog and Paquibato for a 100-hectare oil palm plantation.

 They found the terrain too steep for an oil palm venture, said Cortez to explain the shift to rubber.

The Malaysian investor said harvested oil palm fruits would be difficult to transport with Marilog and Paquibato having steep slopes, according to Cortez.

With the shift to another crop, Cortez said FGV would soon be sending its technical people to conduct a study on the proposed rubber project.

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte had strongly backed the oil palm project even as environmentalist groups said the Malaysian project would wreak havoc on the environment and upland residents who are mostly from the indigenous tribes.

Duterte even promised to negotiate with the armed communist New People’s Army (NPA), which has a heavy presence in the two hinterland districts that have been shunned by investors due insurgency, to allow the entry of the Malaysian company.

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