The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) has partnered with French firm SEMMARIS, and the Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) for the conduct of a feasibility study (FS) on the development of an International Food Market in New Clark City, Tarlac.
BCDA believes that the wholesale International Food Market will serve as a facility that will connect buyers and sellers of food/agri-products both locally and in the Asian region. The project is expected to especially benefit local farmers as it will provide direct market access for them to sell their goods at higher prices thereby increasing their income.
With the agreement, MPIC and SEMMARIS, will conduct an FS to evaluate and determine the viability of the Project. On the basis of the FS, MPIC and SEMMARIS shall have the option to submit to BCDA a proposal to implement the Project.
Signatories of the MOU were BCDA President and Chief Executive Office Vivencio B. Dizon, SEMMARIS Head of Strategic Investment Projects Benoit Juster—representing SEMMARIS President Stephanie Layani, and MPIC President Jose Maria K. Lim.
Among witnesses were His Excellency Thierry Mathou, Ambassador of France to the Philippines, and MPIC Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan.
French Ambassador Thierry Mathou believes that the Project once operational will be useful not only for Clark but also for the whole region and expressed interest in helping develop a green economy and agro-business sector in the Philippines.
“We are in the first step, and I’m confident that in the next couple of years we will be able to inaugurate the first, wholesale market in Asia here in the Philippines, with the expertise of SEMMARIS in France,” said Ambassador Mathou.
The Rungis International Market (Marche International de Rungis) is the first fresh wholesale market in the world that supplies the City of Paris and Paris Area with leading perishable agro-food platforms. It is the largest wholesale food market in the world—with markets in Moscow, Dubai, and in Kazakhstan. It is operated and managed by SEMMARIS.
MPIC, on the other hand, is a leading Philippine-based, publicly listed investment and management company engaged in the business of water utilities, power generation and distribution, toll-road operations, hospitals, rail and logistics.
Manuel Pangilinan, MPIC Chairman, congratulated the Duterte administration for being a “dynamic” government—citing the number of agreements signed only within the first year of his leadership.
“We look forward to moving this project ahead and hopefully it will translate into a commercial venture with BCDA and Semmaris—and of course with the support of the French government,” Pangilinan said.
Mr. Juster of SEMMARIS explains why Clark is the perfect location in Southeast Asia for the Project: “First, Clark is very close to Metro Manila. Second, Clark is home to essential infrastructure such as roads, airports, seaport, and soon, railways. Third, the agricultural sector and the agro-food sector is very important in the Philippines.”
He added that the wholesale market, can be a very strong and efficient tool to facilitate development of the agricultural sector.
The New Clark City in Tarlac is a new metropolis that will rise within the Clark Special Economic Zone. It will serve as a viable alternative location where different industries can do business. It is also envisioned to address the growing population and congestion in Metro Manila.