Commissioner Nyaee Ayup of the Malaysia Trade Office in Manila said in an interview that there are raw material requirements in her country that cannot be sourced locally.
"For example, although we manufacture coffee, we don't have coffee plantations. We manufacture cacao but we don't have big cacao plantations," said Ms. Ayup, who was in the city for a series of meetings.
Aside from cacao and coffee, Ms. Ayup said collaboration can also be undertaken in oil palm production as Malaysian companies are already looking at possible plantation sites in Mindanao.
She noted that the Philippines is among the biggest importers of palm oil from Malaysia, the world's second biggest producer after Indonesia.
The business collaborations can be pursued within established frameworks and programs under the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), Ms. Ayup said.
The Mindanao Development Authority announced last year that 19 oil palm companies, mostly from Malaysia, have been scouting for land in the southern Philippine island.
As of last year, about 60,000 hectares in Mindanao have been developed as oil palm farms, mainly in the Agusan provinces and central Mindanao, including the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
The ARMM Regional Board of Investments reported last year a P1.3-billion oil palm investment for a 5,000-hectare plantation in Maguindanao by Gintong Agri Corp., a subsidiary of multinational Agricola Holdings, which operates in west Asia, west Africa and Southeast Asia.
The BIMP-EAGA is a sub-regional economic grouping within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, with specific focus areas in each of the four member countries.
Mindanao and Palawan are the two designated areas for the Philippines.