THE Board of Investments (BoI) gave the go-signal for Lionheart GPPAC Farmers Corp.’s application as a new export producer of coconut products, making it eligible for various incentives.

In a statement on Monday, the BoI announced the approval of Lionheart’s application as a new export producer of virgin coconut oil, coconut flour and tender green coconuts under the Investment Priorities Plan’s (IPP) export activities category.

Lionheart is undertaking a P321-million project which involves setting up a coconut processing plant with a hybrid coconut plantation in Rizal, Palawan. It is planning to hire nearly 1,600 personnel for the facility.

For its first year, the company will develop a 2,400-hectare hybrid coconut plantation, which will be ramped up to 4,600 hectares in succeeding years. Around 100,000 hybrid coconut trees have already been planted, with Lionheart expecting commercial harvest to start three and a half years after planting.

Construction of the cocohub facilities began in December. Commercial operations of Lionheart’s processing plant seen to commence in May.

Lionheart targets an annual production of 883,200 kilograms of virgin coconut oil, 76,800 kilograms of coconut flour, and 50.6 million units of tender green coconuts, which will be exported to the United States, Europe, Singapore, Japan, Korea and Hong Kong.

“This will further boost the country’s exports of coconut and its by-products which are now in demand in other countries,” Trade Undersecretary and BoI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo was quoted as saying in the statement.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed coconut products exports reached $1.26 billion from January to November 2016.

Enterprises registered with the BoI are entitled to fiscal and non-fiscal incentives, such as exemption from payment of income tax for four years from the start of commercial operations. — A.B. Francia