Businessmen from Bahrain keen on putting up sugar mill in PHL

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Businessmen from Bahrain have expressed interest in investing in the construction of a sugar-processing plant in the Philippines, officials of the Department of Agriculture (DA) said over the weekend.

The DA said officials from the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) made the pronouncement during a meeting with Agriculture Undersecretary for Agribusiness and Marketing Bernadette Romulo-Puyat and Agriculture Assistant Secretary Leandro H. Gazmin on March 17.

“Some Bahraini investors are interested to undertake a joint venture with local producers. They are actually asking for assistance in feasibility studies for the products that they want to invest in,” BCCI Chairman Khalid A. Rahman was quoted as saying in a statement released by the DA.

Rahman was referring to the possibility of establishing a sugar-processing facility in the country. He added the processed products from the facility will be repackaged in Bahrain and sold in Saudi Arabia.

Bahrain’s capital city, Manama, is about 24 kilometers off the east coast of Saudi Arabia.

Bahrain is a net importer of sugar. In a February Reuters report, Manama’s lone sugar refinery stopped production in October last year to prepare for a change in the company’s ownership. The sugar firm reportedly struggled to recoup start-up costs and has racked up large debts.

In 2015 Manama imported some $114 million worth of sugar, of which 49 percent came from Brazil, according to the latest data from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The DA said it would link the interested Bahraini investors with sugar planters in the country for the conduct of a study to determine the feasibility of establishing the proposed sugar mill.

“The (DA) can link our foreign investors to our farmers’ cooperatives and help them with the requirements,” Puyat said.