Local firm clinches deal with China outfit to export PH crops

MANILA Listed Filipino agricultural exporter AgriNurture, Inc. (ANI) signed a deal on Tuesday with Beijing-based Sinochem Corporation for the supply of fertilizer to ANI's contract growers in the Philippines and for the purchase of the Filipino farmers' produce, for export to Hong Kong and China.

The deal involves USD37.6 million and was signed at the first-ever China International Import Expo, which opened in Shanghai on Monday, with Chinese President Xi Jinping leading the launch.

"The deal will expand ANI's closed ecosystem and enable it to bridge farm requirements to market access," ANI president and CEO Antonio Tiu said in a statement on Wednesday.

As part of the deal, Sinochem will supply affordable fertilizers to ANI's contract growers in the country.

The state-owned Chinese firm will also purchase the produce of the local contract growers and market these in Hong Kong and China, where the company is engaged in trading.

Sinochem is a conglomerate engaged in the production and trading of chemicals, fertilizers, and other agricultural products.

"Specifically, Sinochem has committed to purchase for the next three years tropical fruits from the Philippines sold through ANI's contract growers," Tiu said, describing the agreement as "a landmark deal."

The deal was signed by Tiu and Cui Yan, Sinochem general manager and Party Secretary of Sinochem subsidiary Sinochem International.

"The deal would provide much-needed support to Philippine farmers and growers and boost the country's market access to China," Tiu continued.

Sinochem would also enable ANI to have a "more efficient ecosystem" with its commitment to supply more affordable fertilizers, he pointed out.

The newly opened China International Import Expo in Shanghai was designed to bolster China's image as an open market, "one that is ready to support different suppliers across the globe," Tiu noted.

At least 3,000 businessmen from around the world gathered at the Shanghai event.

One of the top 100 companies in the Fortune 500 list, the Sinochem Group is a state-owned enterprise founded in 1950.

Its predecessor was China National Chemicals Import and Export. It is also one of China's four largest state oil companies, China's leading chemical service provider, a major agricultural provider and integrated service operator.

Its five business units are energy, chemicals, agriculture, real estate, and finance.

ANI, meanwhile, is a listed company led by Tiu. It is one of the Philippines' major exporters to the world market.

At present, ANI supplies home-grown fruits like mangoes, bananas, and pineapple to customers in Hong Kong, mainland China, the Middle East, and to different European countries.

ANI ventured into the importation and trading of rice in the first quarter of 2015 and has since then participated in the rice importation program for the private sector under the National Food Authority.

Its Philippine operations group is organized into three business units export, local distribution, and retail and franchising.

Meanwhile, the foreign operations group is principally engaged in fruits and vegetable trading in Hong Kong and China. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency