COTABATO CITY—The start of commercial operations of the state-of-the-art pineapple packing plant of Wao Development Corporation (WDC), a subsidiary of multinational fruit company, Dole Philippines, Inc. (Dolefil), was formally launched thru a ceremonial ribbon cutting by the officials from the Regional Bangsamoro Board of Investments (BBOI) on Thursday, Feb. 10, in Wao, Lanao del Sur.
In October 2019, WDC owned by the giant Japanese trading company, Itochu Corporation, registered with the Regional BBOI their Php306-million worth of investment project to build one of the most modern fresh pineapple packing plants in the country located Wao.
WDC President Mr. Francis Babac said that WDC was already operating at 1,200 hectares of pineapple plantation in Wao, which is adjacent to their pineapple plantations in Bukidnon Province.
“The WDC pineapple packing plant is capable of operating at a capacity of 2,000,000 boxes of pineapple but our plant was designed for 6,000,000 boxes rated capacity,“ Babac said.
“We are planning to expand our planted areas for pineapple with additional 1,400 hectares by investing more than P200 million, hopefully in the BARMM and adjacent areas, to address the gap in our packing plant production,” he added.
The processed fresh pineapple from the WDC will be exported to Asia-Pacific countries, particularly in Japan, Korea, and Middle East.
Regional BBOI Chairman Atty. Ishak Mastura mentioned to offer fiscal incentives to WDC if they find suitable areas for planting pineapples in BARMM and committed their agency “to help WDC find consolidated areas for their new pineapple plantation in the region”.
“WDC is an ideal foreign investor for BARMM because of the high value crop and dollar export potential of their product. It is considered to be one of the largest employers in Wao, Lanao del Sur generating 1,200 direct employees alone in their packing plant,” Chairman Mastura said.
“In the future, WDC will be adding thousands more employees until they reach the full capacity of their packing plant redounding to the economic benefit of the community, not to mention the indirect employment and business generated in the area,” Mastura added.
As a registered investment project, the newly-launched WDC pineapple packing plant will enjoy fiscal incentives such as income tax holidays and reduced duties and tariffs for imported capital equipment from the Regional BBOI.
Also present during the ceremonial opening was Leilani Alisoso, Plant Manager of WDC, and Mohamad Pasigan, member of the Board of Governors of Regional BBOI. (Kasan M. Usop, Jr./BIO)