Despite the pandemic, Cargill Philippines, the local subsidiary of food and agriculture multinational firm Cargill, is bent on fulfilling its P12.5-billion investment commitment in the country, which it first announced in 2018.
Moreover, the company is already seeing a recovery in the demand for its products, particularly on the side of its poultry processing and animal nutrition businesses, as the Philippine government continuously eases lockdown restrictions.
On Thursday, Sonny Catacutan, president of Cargill Philippines and managing director of Cargill Animal Nutrition and Health, said despite some delays due to the pandemic, the company will not downscale its planned five-year investment as far as the amount is concerned.
Now in its third year, the P12.5-billion investment will be exhausted until 2023 to continuously expand the firm’s operations throughout the Philippines.
“This is the same long term plan that we put in place back in 2018. That investment is now rolling out. [There were] a few expansions in General Santos. We also expanded our feeder facilities. We are also expanding our geographical presence for the animal nutrition business. This is on-going,” Catacutan said.
“We mentioned some projects will be delayed but commitment will remain the same. This pandemic has given us several business uncertainties. We need to be agile with the changes. In our feeds business and in our coconut oil business, we’ve just expanded our capacity, and we have also initiatives to increase capacity for coconut oil in General Santos,” he further said.
The plan, according to him, is to further expand the company’s footprint in Visayas and Mindanao since it is already currently heavily invested in Luzon.
To recall, Cargill started doing business in the Philippines in 1947 when the firm’s vegetable oil division started buying copra for export to the United States. Philippines was Cargill’s first office in Asia.
For animal nutrition, Cargill offers swine, poultry and aqua feed, along with the premix solutions. For this, the firm operates four feed mills located in Villasis, Baliuag, Pulilan and Villanueva.
Cargill is also in partnership with Jollibee Foods Corporation for the local processing of chicken.
Through their joint venture firm, Cargill Joy Poultry Meats Production, they run a poultry processing facility in Santo Tomas, Batangas.
The firm supplies grain and meal too, serving a variety of customers in both the food and feed industries, while also operating a copra crushing plant in General Santos City to produce crude coconut oil and copra meal for domestic and export markets.
Cargill also operates several copra buying stations in the country to help coconut farmers gain greater access to global markets.
To survive the pandemic, Catacutan said the company resorted to the retail selling of its processed chicken.
“We’ve seen a drastic shift in the way where people buy from and how they consume products in terms of our C-joy business. We needed to figure out how to get quality products into your home,” said Chris Ilagan, Cargill Philippines Corporate Affairs Director.
“There are two major ways. These are [through] individual re-sellers who are interested to sell in their communities so long as they pass our basic criteria for accreditation. The other route we’ve taken is [while] you won’t see [our processed chicken] in grocery shelves, we supply some groceries and they will sell our products under their house name and not under the C-joy brand,” he added.