MANILA, Philippines - DuPont Philippines, the local unit of DuPont USA, is keen on expanding its established agriculture business and is drumming up interest in its renewable energy (RE) venture.
Ramon S. Abadilla, DuPont Philippines country managing director, said the company is exploring the possibility of establishing growing areas for hybrid rice seeds in the Philippines.
“We are very strong on corn but not so much on rice,” he said.
Abadilla said the company is coordinating with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los Banos, Laguna on the appropriate rice varieties that could be grown in the Philippines.
“We have already started research on growing our own hybrid rice seed locally,” he said. “We are now researching the commercialization of hybrid rice grown here.”
DuPont already has seed production plants for hybrid corn in Lusita, Tarlac and in Polomoloc, South Cotabato, but imports hybrid rice seeds from India for distribution in the Philippines.
Four years ago, DuPont Philippines invested P1 billion to put up the corn seed production plant in Tarlac, while the plant in South Cotabato is now 20 years old but has been modernized.
“For now, our corn business can supply the needs of the market,” said Abadilla.
DuPont Philippines’s agriculture unit Pioneer Hi-Bred Philippines sells hybrid rice and corn seeds under the DuPont Pioneer brand.
Around 60 percent of DuPont’s business in the Philippines is tied to agriculture.
The company also maintains a repacking plant for its imported crop protection products in Laguna to conform to the packaging and labeling requirements set by the Department of Agriculture.
Its crop protection line is composed of various pesticides for rice, corn, sugarcane, bananas, vegetable and other crops.
DuPont is also a supplier of raw materials for major food manufacturers in the country.
It supplies enzymes, emulsifiers, probiotics, stabilizers, soy protein and other raw materials produced by DuPont on its manufacturing facilities in China and in the United States,
To drum up interest in its RE business, the company recently put up a small solar plant in its corn seed production plant in Luisita, Tarlac.
The 194,000-kilowatt solar power facility provides 30 percent of the power requirements of the seed plant.
Solar panels manufactured by DuPont Apollo was used in the plant, but the facility itself was designed and installed by Soleenergy Systems, Inc. The solar plant is operated by Exergy Philippines.
“But even if the plant is small, it will be our testimonial to how the DuPont panels work,” said Abadilla. “Our target is to use our panels in our projects.”
Most of DuPont’s solar panels are manufactured in China.