Investments in 18 agro-industrial economic zones have reached P27.516 billion providing direct employment to 45,643 Filipinos in the regions, according to Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA).
PEZA Director-General Lilia B. De Lima said the agency is further promoting agri-economic zone investments because this kind of development provides decent employment to Filipinos with lesser educational attainment in the remote provinces.
“Agro-industrial investments will help us attain inclusive growth,” De Lima said noting that majority of these agro-industrial investments are located in Mindanao, home to some of the poorest municipalities in the country.
“These agro-industrial investments are located in Lanao, South Cotabato, Davao, Zamboanga, and General Santos City,” she said. Others are located in the Visayas including Negros, Cebu, Leyte and one in Luzon in Isabela province.
PEZA started registering agro-industrial zones in 2008. Of the total investments of P27.516 billion, P21.629 billion are investments by locators while P5.887 billion are investments by developers of these economic zones. The figure does not include yet the expansion programs of developers and their locators.
These ecozones are stand alone establishments, with a minimum of 5 hectare lot, and some are also being leased to other locators.
In terms of employment generation, De Lima reported that Sumitomo Fruits-owned Sumifru (Philippines) Corp. is the biggest employing 24,464 people in the AJMR Agro-Industrial Zone in Tibungco, Davao City. AMJR is 65 percent Filipino-owned and 35 percent Singaporean. The company operates a banana plantation and processing facility for exports to Japan and China.
Dole Philippines operates a pineapple plantation in Sarangani Economic Development Zone in Polomolok, South Cotabato employing 11,748 people in this
Site producing fresh pineapple and pineapple juice concentrate, solids, juice, mixed fruit products, tropical fruit cocktail and nata de coco.
Dole has also expanded in SRC Calumpang Economic Development Zone in Calumpang, South Cotabato for the manufacture of corrugated boxes and printing of industrial and commercial labels, forms, and all packaging materials for exports and in SRC Allah Valley Economic Development Zone in Surallah, South Cotabato for the processing of canned fruits with combined employment of 1,659.
Del Monte Philippines Inc., which is engaged in the production of processed foods and beverages, also operates a banana plantation for exports in Bugo, Cagayan de Oro employing 4,124 people.
Other agro-investors in various ecozones include Alsons Aquaculture Corp. (Sarangani Agro-Industrial Ecozone in Alabel, Sarangani province), Cargill Oil Mills Philippines Inc. (Agrotex Gensan Economic Zone in barangay Tambler, General Santos City), Dipolog Coconut Oil Mill, Inc. (Irasan-Roxas Zanorte Special Economic Zone in Roxas, Zambaonga del Norte), Green Future Innovations Inc. (Ecofuel Agro-Industrial Ecozone in San Mariano, Isabela), Legaspi Oil Co. Inc. (CIIF Agro-Industrial Park in barangay Sasa, Davao City), Newtech Pulp, inc. (Balo-i Agro Industrial Economic Zone in Balo-i, Lanao del Norte), Primex Coco Products Inc. (Candelaria Agri Special Economic Zone), Samar Coco Products Manufacturing Corp. (Samar Agro-Industrial Economic Zone in Calbayog City, Western Samar), San Carlos Bioenergy Inc. (San Carlos Ecozone in San Carlos City, Negros Oriental), Shemberg Biotech Corp. (Carmen Cebu Gum Industrial Zone in Carmen, Cebu City), and Specialty Pulp Manufacturing Inc. (New Jubilee Agro-Industrial Economic Zone in Baybay, Leyte). (Bernie Magkilat)