DOLE PHILIPPINES, Inc.’s new fresh pineapple packing plant in Lanao del Sur was formally launched last week amid plans to expand surrounding plantations to increase output.

The P306-million facility is operated by Dole Philippines subsidiary Wao Development Corp. (WDC), which registered the project with the Regional Bangsamoro Board of Investments in 2019.

“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,“ WDC President Francis Babac said in a statement issued on Sunday by the Bangsamoro government.

WDC operates 1,200 hectares of pineapple plantations in Wao, Lanao del Sur, which is adjacent to Dole’s pineapple plantations in Bukidnon.

“We are planning to expand our planted areas for pineapple with additional 1,400 hectares by investing more than P200 million,” Mr. Babac said.

“Hopefully in the BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Musmlim Mindanao) and adjacent areas, to address the gap in our packing plant production,” he added.

Output from the plant will be exported around the Asia Pacific, particularly Japan and South Korea, as well as the Middle East.

Dole Philippines is owned by Japanese trading company Itochu Corp.

Board of Investments Chair Ishak V. Mastura said the regional government is ready “to help WDC find consolidated areas for their new pineapple plantation in the region” and offer fiscal incentives.

The company, one of the biggest employers in the province, has been granted income tax holidays and reduced tariffs for imported capital equipment for the packing plant, which has least 1,200 workers.

“WDC is an ideal foreign investor for BARMM because of the high-value crop and dollar export potential of their product,” Mr. Mastura said. — Marifi S. Jara