KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 12 February) — Multinational giant fruit producer Dole Philippines, Inc. (Dolefil) has started the commercial operations of its P306-million state-of-the-art fresh pineapple packing plant in Wao, Lanao del Sur, officials said.
The Wao Development Corp. (WDC), a subsidiary of Dolefil whose main pineapple processing and canning plant is based in Polomolok, South Cotabato, launched the plant’s operation on Thursday.
WDC was registered with the Bangsamoro Board of Investment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (RBOI-BARMM) in October 2019.
WDC’s parent company Dolefil is owned by giant Japanese trading company Itochu Corporation.
Francis Babac, WDC president and director of Dolefil’s agri-operations, said WDC is already operating a 1,200-hectare pineapple plantation in Wao, which is adjacent to their pineapple plantations in Bukidnon province.
“The WDC pineapple packing plant is capable right now of operating at a capacity of 2,000,000 boxes,” he said, adding the plant was designed with a rated capacity of 6,000,000 boxes
“We are planning to expand our planted areas for pineapple with additional 1,400 hectares by investing (at least) P200 million, hopefully in the BARMM and adjacent areas, to address the gap in our packing plant production,” Babac said in a statement from RBOI-BARMM.
Lawyer Ishak Mastura, RBOI-BARMM chair, and Mohamad Pasigan, a member of the Board of Governors of RBOI-BARMM, graced the ceremonial launching of the packing plant.
In his speech, Mastura offered fiscal incentives to WDC should they find suitable expansion areas for planting pineapples in the BARMM.
He also vowed their agency’s help to find consolidated areas for the firm’s planned pineapple plantation expansion.
“WDC is an ideal foreign investor for BARMM. It is now one of the largest employers in Wao with 1,200 direct employees alone in their packing plant,” Mastura said.
He projected that WDC will be adding thousands more employees until the firm reaches the full capacity of its packing plant.
Aside from direct employment, the new plant will also redound to the economic benefit of the community in the form of indirect employment and businesses generated in the area, Mastura said.
As a registered investment project with RBOI-BARMM, the new plant will enjoy fiscal incentives like income tax holidays and reduced duties and tariffs for imported capital equipment. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)