Cassava farmers in Mindanao saw hope after Nestle announced that the company would approve thousands of cassava suppliers/farmers from the island.
The project is in connection with the company’s new malt plant in Batangas which will produce Milo and other malt-based products. The ongoing-construction malt plant is said to be the biggest in Asia-Pacific region, as the Philippines is one of the biggest Milo customers.
Protomalt, a Nestle proprietary malt extract, is a key ingredient in all Milo products.
Nestle Philippines chairman and chief executive Jacques Reber said at present, protomalt is sourced from Singapore.
Once the Lipa malt plant is complete, it can produce as much as 35,000 tons of malt, which is enough for the Philippine market’s Milo consumption.
The Philippines is the second biggest Milo market in the world next to Malaysia.
Reber said the new investment will open opportunities for Philippine farmers, as Nestle Philippines plans to source cassava, a major raw material for malt extract, locally.
He said they have started to qualify cassava farmers in Mindanao.
Nestle Philippines projects it will need 18,000 metric tons of cassava per year.
Nestle has three existing malt plants located in Singapore, Nigeria, and Australia. The 5,400-square-meter malt plant in Lipa is the company’s fourth facility.
It is expected to open jobs for only 23 employees because the company uses state of the art technology, but thousands of cassava farmers are needed to supply its required raw materials. Production will start in November 2017.
Cassava would take at least eight months to harvest so the timing of planting and the plant completion is good, according to the company. / Cherry Gelera/