Father of the Pioneers Kyosaburo Ohta who devoted his life to the development of the hemp industry in Davao

Kyosaburo Ohta started an import business for Japanese general merchandise in Manila in 1901. In 1905 he moved to Davao (Mindanao) with seventy immigrants and started managing a hemp plantation in undeveloped land in Bago, the Mintal Region, which at the time was avoided by Americans and even Filipinos.

Japanese immigrants flooded into Davao in response to the soaring hemp price caused by the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. The number of Japanese immigrants living in Davao increased from seven hundred in 1914 to ten thousand in 1918. 

Ohta advocated for extremely willing and capable Japanese laborers to become owners of hemp fields by opening up land in addition to taking the initiative in hemp farming himself.  He accommodated people lacking necessary funds with loans and allowed Japanese immigrants settle as independent farmers. 

Consequently, the output of hemp in Davao increased  dramatically over this period.  Sending many Japanese workers into Davao, Ohta devoted his life to opening up uncultivated land and developing the hemp industry there.  He is called the Father of the pioneers of Davao and his memorial was built in honor of his achievement in Mintal.