Food Park

This section will deal with the various components of an infrastructure model that builds and maintains a network of food and bioenergy park facilities for agricultural modernization. The models in the Netherlands and in India are used. These facilities serve as the core development infrastructure of the national agricultural modernization agenda of the Philippines.

The Philippines Food and Bionenergy Park Corporation

When we started proposing this project in the Philippines in 2009 initially through the YES Bank of India, which opened my communication with the Alterra Group of Wageningen University, the first food park in India was not yet operational. Now they have 14 and 20 more food parks are planned. Of course, India is a big country and they need more. I was informed that the main problem in India that impedes the fast track establishment is the difficulty of consolidating land for the park.

The best funding model for this undertaking is pooled financing. There is no need for every park to negotiate with foreign and domestic investors. This facility can be established also as an investment fund. The investment fund can be a public-private partnership model.

The development of the food park is just like one experiment wherein the whole country is an experimental plot and the various models are treatment. Models may vary according to purpose, ownership arrangement, and funding model.

In fact, if the National Food Authority is going to review its mandate, the agency should leave the grains trading and proceed with food park development. However, it needs a serious re-engineering of the agency. The solution then is for the NFA to just consider the government-owned, privately managed, and privately funded PPP model in some of the food parks. Of course, private ownership in some of the food parks is also ideal.


Providing Structure and Order for Economic Development

The Philippine Food and Bioenergy Park Corporation will be a management and holding company that will establish and operate food and bioenergy parks, food terminal markets, and other support infrastructure and research and development infrastructure related to food and bioenergy. By using the International Food Park model developed by Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands, the company will become the principal stakeholder in the establishment of food park facilities in the Philippines both for the international and domestic markets. A typical food park will be spread over 500 to 1,000 hectares of land that will encompass all the aspects of food supply chain and bioenergy production that will facilitate the integration of various agribusiness value chain components with spatial integration of different agro-production chains, processing units, and non-agro functions. Every food park will also provide vital scope for economic transformation and employment generation including domestic and international tourism. The food and bioenergy park being proposed will be easily accessible by road, rail, sea and air.

The Philippine Food and Bioenergy Park Corporation will be established as a management and holding company that will establish various subsidiary companies following public and private partnership models. It will serve also as the anchor investor to promote foreign investment in the agriculture sector of the Philippines. The holding company will be responsible for first ensuring the availability of the land area to be devoted to the project in partnership with the local partners, which will include local government units, landowners, and other interested parties. The first main responsibility of the holding company is to organize the funding required for the overall physical development and operating systems through international and local investment. The company will also support the funding requirement and management of possible locators, particularly local business groups and farmers cooperatives that will participate by doing business inside the food and bioenergy park.

The food and bioenergy park infrastructure will be a financially self-sustaining public-private sector partnership model with various income streams, which will include property rental, toll processing, food services and transportation logistics, electricity generation, financial services, tourism, and other products and services.

Classified as international food park, regional food park, and special food and clean energy park, there will be four international food parks, two food terminals to serve the north and south gateway to Metro Manila, and 12 regional food parks, and one specialized energy park through a collaboration with the University of the Philippines is being proposed.

In the Philippines, there is an existing physical infrastructure that can house structure for agricultural development and bioenergy development. These prominent facilities with ready infrastructure include the Subic Bay Freeport Zone (SBF) in Zambalez, the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority in Port Irene, Cagayan and the Zamboanga Economic Zone Authority in Zamboanga City. On the other hand, there is already a need to replace facilities inside Metro Manila to decongest traffic and one in the South to be located in Batangas and one in the North to be located in Bulacan are proposed food terminal facilities.