THE World Food Expo (Wofex) Mindanao-10th Food Processing and Packaging Technology Expo has driven national players in food service to open branches in Davao City as the event brings them closer to the island.

"Some 150 companies who are participating in this year's edition of Wofex join the expo to see if there's market in the city. Once they see the potential of the city, they will surely open a branch or office in the city because of their experience during the show," Wofex president Joel Pascual said, adding that several companies have invaded and invested in Davao.

Handyware Philippines Inc., one of the regular participating companies in the exposition, is eyeing to open a branch in the city to accommodate its growing customers from the island.

"We are now in the process of securing permits, but definitely, we are targeting to operate this year," said Edward H. Tomboc, Handyware area manager for Mindanao.

Handyware is a national marketing and distribution company of equipment and machineries catering to various industries such as food processing and packaging, printing and publishing, telecommunications, construction, pharmaceutical and other growth-oriented businesses.

"Big part of our Davao expansion is Wofex. Since we joined the exposition, we have seen a big market opportunity here in Davao, now we decided to be nearer to the market," said Tomboc, adding that Davao is the fastest growing city in southern part of the country.

Established in 1968, the firm has seven branches nationwide, including the Davao branch and one branch each in China and Vietnam.

Tomboc said that after the Davao branch, the company is also eyeing to expand in the cities of General Santos and Cagayan de Oro.