French Ambassador to Philippines and to Micronesia Thierry Mathou is eyeing bringing in agriculture investors in Negros Occidental which could mean billions of investment when he returns in March for the inauguration of the solar farm in Cadiz.
During his visit in the province last Saturday, Mathou said he told Governor Alfredo Marañon that he may bring French agribusiness and agriculture companies.
“We'll have a consultation with the governor and different stakeholders. I could also be back with a group of French companies to see if we can cooperate in the development of agriculture and agribusiness,” Mathou said.
Mathou said this is his first time to visit Negros Occidental and admitted that he was surprised and interested to see that agribusiness is the core of its development.
“It is important to redefine our development, to put human development and green economy in the middle of everything,” he said.
During his brief visit in the province, Mathou accompanied by French NGO representatives, took a stopover at Peñalosa Farm, Victorias City that promotes organic farming on the suggestion of Marañon.
“It was not my intention to visit but when I heard about this program, I insisted to go because agriculture is quite important, not just in France but also in Negros,” Mathou said.
He said Neg. Occ. is a green province and emphasizes the importance of green economy development.
He also lauded the organic farming practiced in the Peñalosa Farm, ad said this is what exactly they would like to reproduce in other parts of the Philippines.
Mathou said organic agriculture is thriving in France and seeing that it is also practiced in Negros Occidental gives him ideas of further developing it.
He said he recently met with Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala to sign an agreement between France and the Philippines in the field of agriculture and agribusiness development.
“When I came here I saw very concrete action, so it gave me ideas that we will be able to implement this agreement here in the province,” he said.
Mathou also said the role of small and medium enterprises in developing the province's agribusiness is important.
“The interest of agribusiness is that you can settle small units and reproduce them in SMEs. This is why we have to invest in local businesses,” the ambassador added.*KBC
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