Sunday, April 21, 2024

Clark’s National Food Hub To Stimulate Agro-Industrial Corridor In Luzon

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Clark’s National Food Hub To Stimulate Agro-Industrial Corridor In Luzon

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The PHP8.5-billion National Food Hub at the Clark Airport Complex is expected to stimulate the food and agro-industrial corridor in the northern part of Luzon, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Alfredo Pascual said.

On Monday, Pascual and Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) president and chief executive officer Arrey Perez signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in Makati City for the development of the 60-hectare National Food Hub, which is part of DTI’s three-year Food Logistics Action Agenda.

The hub is positioned as the country’s premium wholesale market and distribution hub for high-value and top-quality food products. Its services include food processing, warehousing, trading, market services, international shipping, and research and quality control.

Pascual said the project is aligned with the department’s three-year Food Logistics Action Agenda that was approved by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. in August 2023, which aims to ensure affordable and accessible food for all Filipinos.

“Region 3 is already agricultural. In fact, some area could still be converted into the planting of high value crops and the raising of animals for food,” he said.

“The beauty of this project (is) it will be a catalyst in that region for developing a food (and) agro-industrial corridor that will hopefully be expanded more to Region 1 and possibly Region 2,” he added.

Early this month, the DTI signed an MOU with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) for the Integrated Rice Supply Chain Development Program.

The DTI, along with other private sector partners, has also set up the Nueva Vizcaya Agricultural Terminal (NVAT) in Cagayan Valley.

Pascual said the mega food center, with its proximity also to the Subic Port, can also boost the halal food industry since industry players can use the food hub’s services for exporting their products.

 

Priority PPP project

The National Food Hub is among CIAC’s seven flagship projects, which also include the Clark Entertainment and Events Center, Urban Renewal and Heritage Conservation Program, Clark Direct Access Link, Entertainment and Events Center Connector Road, the new CIAC Headquarters, and logistics hub.

Perez said CIAC is eyeing the food hub as a public-private partnership (PPP) project.

A feasibility study for the food hub is already being done by the PPP Center and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and results are expected to come out by the third quarter of the year. The bidding process will soon follow.

Perez said the first phase of the food hub project is expected to be delivered before the end of the Marcos administration.

“From all the major distribution hubs in different provinces in Central Luzon (and) in Northern Luzon, we can be mega-aggregator and an aggregation for efficiency of food and commodities. At the grassroot level, we are going to empower the farmers, the livestock growers, even fishermen,” he added.

On the sidelines of the event, Pascual told reporters that the operator of the Rungis International Market in Paris, France, the largest wholesale food market in Europe, has expressed its interest to invest in the National Food Hub in Clark.

The National Food Hub will be located in the 270-hectare Precinct 2 of the Clark Airport City Masterplan. (PNA)