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MANILA — The Board of Investments (BoI) has approved a P476.5-million project of Royale Cold Storage North Inc. for cold-storage and blast-freezing facilities that will be constructed in Marilao, Bulacan.

The plant will have a maximum capacity of 3,409,920 pallets per year for cold storage and 9,720,000 kilograms per year for blast freezing. The plant will provide the services to agriculture, marine, and processed food companies based in Bulacan and Northern Luzon provinces.[box type=”default” size=”large”] Plant set to be constructed in Marilao, Bulacan [/box]The storage facility is designed to handle various unprocessed, semi-processed raw materials, finished products, perishable commodities such as fruits, vegetables, livestock and poultry products and processed marine products.

The facility is expected to start commercial operations in June 2014. It has a manpower requirement of 80 personnel.

The agriculture/agribusiness sector is one of the preferred activities included in the Investment Priorities Plan (IPP). This sector covers agriculture and fishery-related activities such as irrigation, post harvest, cold storage, blast freezing and production of fertilizers.

The BoI is tasked to implement IPP to further attract investments and boost employment generation.

Investments in cold storage and other post-harvest facilities are aimed at meeting the challenges of the growing demand of agricultural products. Hog and poultry raisers, local farmers, cooperatives, buyers, exporters and importers of fruits and vegetables in Bulacan can utilize the facilities which are expected to support growth of their businesses.

The consumption-driven economy and the booming population have created a strong demand for not only the safety and quality of the food-supply chain but also for the enhancement of the competitiveness of the agriculture sector.

The country needs additional cold-storage facilities to meet the strong demand, the Cold Chain Association of the Philippines (CCAP) said. The group plans to set up such facilities in southern Mindanao and also in certain areas in Northern Luzon, Central Luzon and Central Visayas in the next few years.

CCAP aims to raise the standards of the local cold storage chain industry to enable it to compete globally and to improve the handling, storage and distribution of perishable commodities. (Manila Bulletin)