Century Pacific sees faster growth for Mindanao with more efficient logistics

LISTED firm Century Pacific Food, Inc. (CNPF) sees more investors and traders coming into Mindanao, where the company has major presence with its processed marine and coconut products, if the overall logistics network is made more efficient.

Wilhelmino Nicolasora, Jr., CNPF vice-president for domestic sales, said the “logistical challenge” in the country’s south was magnified by the coronavirus pandemic as restrictions made sourcing and movement of supplies more difficult.

“Efficiency in logistics networks will open more (export and import) opportunities in Mindanao,” he said last week during the second installment of the Davao Investment Conference 2021 Innovation Series that focused on the potential of the Mindanao market.

Mr. Nicolasora cited how improved infrastructure such as the newly upgraded airport in General Santos City, known as the tuna capital of the Philippines, would boost supply chains.

The company reported a 24% rise in net income to P3.9 billion last year, driven by its branded business that includes marine, meat, and milk products.

Mr. Nicolasora also said that while Mindanao is already a major export producer for the country, particularly agricultural commodities, promoting its potential to investors needs continued work.

“We have to break through the negative image of Mindanao… If its potential is unleashed, Mindanao is a powerhouse that can influence possibilities not just on a regional level, but on a national level too,” he said.

The six regions in Mindanao contributed 17.1% to the country’s economic output in 2020, with Northern Mindanao and Davao having the biggest shares at 4.7% each.

Luzon’s eight regions, including the capital, accounted for 69.2% of gross domestic product while the remaining 13.6% share was from the three Visayas regions.

Lafayette A. Lim, president of the Davao-based NCCC Group of Companies with interests in retail and real estate development, said now is the opportune time for investors to venture into Mindanao.

“The saying ‘Give Mindanao a chance’ is outdated and no longer true. Overlooking Mindanao and taking it for granted is a bad business decision,” he said during the same forum organized by the Davao City business chamber.

Mr. Lim announced that NCCC, with its supermarket and non-food store chains, is preparing to enter the franchising industry.

“This is to allow aspiring business owners to benefit from the NCCC brand and technology. All in all, this makes faster growth in places where our stores are present,” he said.

Mr. Lim said the construction of NCCC’s “mega distribution center,” which will include a dry and cold storage facility, is also in the pipeline. — Marifi S. Jara and Maya M. Padillo