DA: Mindanao to unveil homegrown tire product

IF OTHER countries have Michelin, Goodyear and Yokohama, the country will soon have its own product, dubbed “Agila Tires,” a top official of Department of Agriculture (DA) said.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said during the inauguration of Franklin Baker Inc.’s processing plant in Darong, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur that they are currently working with Finland-based firm Black Donuts Engineering to establish the rubber tire processing plant in the island.

“Hopefully in the next two to three years, we will be seeing Agila tires on the roads,” Piñol said.

The DA, through its attached agency Philippine Rubber Research Institute (PRRI), staged a meeting last Saturday at Kidapawan City. This is part of the agency’s goal to organize about 1,000 rubber producers.

Those invited in the forum, PRRI executive director Rudy L. Galang said earlier in a statement, are rubber producers who own at least one hectare of rubber farm.

Piñol said they would organize the farmers and partner them with Black Donuts Engineering as the producers would become shareholders of the company. This pertained to the factory, which will be set up in the island with an expected output of 4 million tires a year.

Early this month, the Black Donuts Engineering led by its chief executive officer Kai Hauvala, already inspected the plantation areas and processing facilities in North Cotabato. The company was also able to scout for areas on where to set up the tire factory.

The company said in its website is “an innovative and independent partner for tire manufacturers worldwide. With our unique team, we can build a top-efficient tire factory, start the production, and run the research and development.”

To formalize the plan, Piñol said the DA and Black Donuts Engineering will sign memorandum of understanding on Feb. 7 to start the conduct feasibility study and partner with the farmers’ groups.

The company planned to pour in $200 million for the establishment of the tire factory, which could directly employ 1,000 workers.

“A tire factory in Mindanao will assure a ready market for the farmers produce and stabilize the price,” Piñol said.

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