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Business

Biotech firm eyes contract growing scheme with indigenous people

- Rocel Felix -
Local biotech firm Secura Plant Genetics Inc. is eyeing contract growing arrangements with Mindanao’s indigenous people (IP) to supply natural ingredients or valuable plant resources for food, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and medicine.

Danilo Manayaga, president and chief executive officer of Secura, said the company is in talks with several IP groups for the possibility of sourcing from them the company’s requirements for natural ingredients like papain or papaya latex.

Manayaga who spoke to tribal leaders in Davao during the "Consultation-Workshop on the Economic Opportunities on Agricultural Biotechnology," noted that Mindanao’s idle agricultural land can be tapped by IPs to generate more income from farming for natural ingredients.

This would be consistent with the Department of Agriculture’s Biotech Program which identified Mindanao as a potential natural ingredients center.

"Mindanao’s resources can be tapped and we hope that the IPs would realize the export potential of farming for natural ingredients," said Manayaga.

Earlier, Manayaga signed joint venture agreements with individual farmers, farm corporations and farmers‚ cooperatives from different parts of the country for the supply of papain.

Secura, which produces powdered and liquid extracts from valuable fruits, plant and vegetables, resources is offering its partnership with local government units and local entrepreneurs and farmers‚ cooperatives to venture into the production and supply of the firm’s raw materials to meet the growing demand in the world market.

Manayaga noted the big demand for many plant varieties in the Philippines, whose enzymes and extracts are required in the United States, Europe, Japan, Korea and China.

Secura, which manufactures enzymes, essential oils and plant extracts, introduced pioneering products like "papain" (from papaya) and bromelain (from pineapple). The extracts from this fruits are used in the personal care and pharmaceutical industries.

Pineapples can produce enzymes that are used to treat cancer. Extracts from Banaba, Lagundi, Saluyot, Aloe-vera and mushrooms have a big market in Europe.

AGRICULTURAL BIOTECHNOLOGY BIOTECH PROGRAM DANILO MANAYAGA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES KOREA AND CHINA MANAYAGA MINDANAO SECURA SECURA PLANT GENETICS INC UNITED STATES
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