Dole, the world’s largest pineapple and banana producer, has pledged to continue expanding in the Philippines, including investing in ESG (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance) initiatives, despite the country’s strong economic performance.

Dole has a long history in the Philippines being present in the country since the early 1960s, mainly in Mindanao where they grow both bananas and pineapples along with other fruits like papayas and avocados.

“As a company, we see it as an important market strategically not only because of the long history but also because of the scale of the operations,” said Wiegele. Dole Philippines employs almost 40,000 people directly and indirectly. “Our plantations cover upwards of 30,000 hectares and we are on a growth trajectory where we are always looking to expand,” Christian Wiegele, president of the Fresh Produce Group of the Dole Sunshine Company, in an email interview with Business Bulletin.

Wiegele stressed they are not just looking at expanding traditionally in terms of hectarage for their fruit plantation, but also investing in agritech, and people.

From a traditional agriculture perspective, Wiegele said they are working on growing its production hectares, specifically in pineapples and other selected produce in tie-ups with local partners and municipalities.

It is also investing in infrastructure in northern Mindanao and is already in the process of opening a new packing house with state-of-the-art cold room facilities with advanced technologies around optical character recognition to reduce food wastage in the process of packing.

“These are all investments which we’re doing to ensure that we are well-positioned for the future,” he added.

Dole is piloting and investing selected funds, working with really forefront companies with data AI, drones, and big data to help move forward in agritech.