A multinational company is considering a sugarcane contract-growing project with beneficiaries of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program as their prospective suppliers.
This was disclosed by Jose Bayani Baylon, systems director of the public affairs and communications department of Coca-Cola Export Corporation and Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines, during a recent visit to Silliman University in Dumaguete City.
He said the company is looking at an initial 500 hectares of CARPed areas to be planted with sugarcane in Negros Occidental, and another 300 hectares in Bukidnon.
A scheme is being devised where Coca-Cola is the customer for a fixed price of sugar by their contract grower, regardless of the prevailing price of sugar in the markets. The scheme enables CARP beneficiaries to effectively manage their farms, instead of selling their certificate of land ownership awards back to their owners.
This came in the wake of the boycott movement in Bacolod against Coca-Cola products, because of the firm’s importation of premix sugar.
“We cannot just buy sugar from anybody without complying with certain requirements, such as the ‘no child labor policy,’” the Coke official said.
Coke is the biggest buyer of local sugar for softdrinks at five million bags annually.*JG
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