DESPITE PANDEMIC: Davao agro-industrial estate thrives

    The 63-hectare land of the Anflo Industrial Estate in Panabo City, Davao Del Norte.

    Damosa Land Inc. (DLI)’s agro-industrial hub Anflo Industrial Estate Corp. (AIEC) in Davao del Norte continues to thrive despite the pandemic with the hub welcoming more locators.

    “Even amidst the pandemic our nation faces, AIEC continues to see a boom in construction, with most new locators on track to open their facilities by the end of the year. We have been receiving more inquiries during the ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) period and onwards compared to the first quarter of 2020,” said Ricardo Floirendo Lagdameo, DLI head. “This bodes well for the area as it is bound to help spur economic activity and provide much-needed opportunities during such uncertain times.”

    This month, four more locations are launching their operations, opening an estimate of 400 to 500 new jobs.

    Local companies Southern Harvest Inc., a banana-chips processing and packaging company, Foam Pack, a foam manufacturing company that produces foam products used in the agricultural industry, PMR Pallet Ltd. Co., a pallet manufacturing company, and Connovate Philippines, a corporation that uses high-performance concrete building technology for construction, are the newest addition to AIEC’s 15 local and international locators represented by 5 nations: Philippines, Japan, China, the Netherlands, and the United States.

    The Anflo Industrial Estate in Panabo City, Davao del Norte. (Photo by Anflocor.)

    Among the previous locators in the 63-hectare, Philippine Economic Zone Authority-approved agro-industrial estate are Packwell Inc., Del Monte Fresh Produce Philippines, Phildutch Polymer Inc., Manly Plastics Inc. and Davao Zhenzhi Plastics Corp. whose products are primarily focused on agriculture and packaging.

    Lagdameo said AIEC ecozone locators continue to open their doors to job seekers despite the pandemic in stark contrast to job losses experienced in major centers in Luzon and the Visayas.

    He added despite the current situation, locators find that Mindanao, AIEC specifically, remains an attractive investment destination because of its world-class infrastructure, services, utilities, and strategic location 300 meters away from the Davao International Container Terminal, the third highest in foreign container traffic in the country.

    AIEC has closed 19 partnerships and is targeting several more. In total, this could potentially generate around 6,000 jobs, and help solidify Mindanao’s status as the food basket of the Philippines. Mindanao accounts for 40 percent of the country’s food requirement and 30 percent of the food trade.

    “Around 500 jobs are now available and more work opportunities should become available in AIEC as new facilities operate before the year ends,” said Lagdameo. “We remain optimistic about the revival of Mindanao’s economy, and that these new locators will definitely invigorate the local economy and give hope to those greatly affected during the pandemic. The opening of four more business factories will provide a positive impact to the city and the surrounding region as this shows that there are still investments and job opportunities coming into the region.”

    Just recently, Southern Harvest, one of AIEC’s new locators, opened job opportunities to over 150 workers as they launched their production. The goods produced here will be exported to various countries.

    Meantime, the nearby Davao International Container Terminal (DICT), which is a sister company of AIEC, is operating at full capacity, hardly showing any sign of economic slowdown brought by the pandemic. The 15-hectare seaport has an annual capacity of 800,000 twenty-foot container units, the standard measure for containerized cargo.

    DICT is a joint venture between Anflo Management and Investment Corp. and Dole-Stanfilco, the leading producers and exporters of fresh Cavendish bananas in the Philippines. AMIC is a major shareholder in both DLI and DICT.