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AgriNurture, Davao tribe ink 25-year rice, corn planting deal

Listed AgriNurture Inc. (ANI) is partnering with a local tribe in Davao to plant rice and corn in up to 38,000 hectares of ancestral lands in the province. 

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, ANI said it signed a 25-year partnership agreement with Davao’s Unified Bagobo-Tagabawa Tribe (UBTT) to produce “BigMa” (bigas-mais) or rice-corn blend product.

The deal is renewable for the same period upon mutual agreement of the parties, according to the company.

ANI president and CEO Antonio Tiu said the company aims to promote inclusive agricultural and economic growth through the development of agricultural plantations.  

Under the deal, ANI will utilize the unused portions of the ancestral land of UBTT, invest in the development, operation and management of a rice and corn plantation and integrated corn processing facility to produce its “BigMa” product.  

In exchange for the rights granted to ANI over their ancestral lands, UBTT will receive annual royalty fees based on actual utilized land and annual net profit share from the project.

"The BigMa project aims to provide an alternative staple for the country, reduce the country's dependence on rice imports, create more jobs for Filipinos and reduce the country’s carbon footprint," Tiu said.  

At least 10,000 new jobs are expected to be created under this venture, he said.

Tiu added that apart from the agricultural partnership, ANI will develop programs on health, skills development and alternative livelihood for the communities. —Ted Cordero/KG, GMA News