Agchem Manufacturing Corporation was organized on August 21, 1972 and registered with the Board of Investments (BOI) under the Pioneer and Preferred status for the manufacture of 2,4-D / MCPA and its formulated products. A.H. Marks and Co. of Wyke, Bradford, and Yorkshire, England provided the technology for these products and sent a British Technician to start up the plant in Muntinlupa, Metro Manila. Agchem became the distributor for several foreign companies such as Nihon Nohyaku, Nissho Iwai, Makteshim Agan, Chevron, and BASF. Its marketing division appointed provincial to sell its products all over the country. Several years later, Agchem decided to close its distribution network and concentrated on catering to industrial customers.
Agchem began to expand its product line when it was appointed by Lonza Limited of Switzerland to handle their Metaldehyde technical, a molluscicide used to control golden apple snails in both transplanted and direct-seeded rice. The product was a positive step towards the growing number of Agchem products.
In October 1995, Agchem transferred its formulation activities to its current site in Carmelray Industrial Park in Canlubang, Calamba, Laguna. The modern facilities gave the company more room to develop, formulate and manufacture its increasing herbicide and molluscicide products as well as its mango flower inducers. Product Development has been a major factor in the company’s growth throughout the succeeding years.
In December 2000, the company constructed its second formulation plant at Carmelray, approximately two (2) kilometers away from the first plant. The second plant was built to handle the formulation and repacking of all crop protection chemicals with the exception of herbicide products which remained in the original plant. This is to primarily prevent the cross-contamination of all other compounds with herbicides.
The main laboratory was also built in the new site equipped with Gas Chromatography apparatus, High Performance Liquid Chromatograph, Particle Size Analyzer, Viscometer, Density Meter, pH Meter, Moisture Analyzer and others of the like. It is the center for research and development, analysis of different technical materials and quality control procedures. To keep up with rising sales and expanding product lines, the company constructed new warehouses to enlarge storage capacity for both plants. The Packaging Warehouse in the Main Formulation plant has over 6,000 cubic meters capacity, while the Packaging and Finished Goods Warehouse at the Herbicide Plant has nearly 18,000 cubic meters capacity. Both warehouses use a drive-in and drive-through racking system optimally suitable for storing goods as it combines the advantages of block stacking and rack stacking; compact space utilization and careful storage of goods.
In the span of 45 years Agchem Manufacturing Corporation has grown by leaps and bounds. From a single product company, is now carries five major product categories (herbicide, insecticide, molluscicide, fungicide and plant growth regulator) each with multiple variants and brands. Sales has increased a thousand-fold, surpassing the billion peso mark in 2017. Likewise assets are well over one billion pesos. The original capital stock of P1 million has risen 500 times over. Production has moved from a 2,000 sqm lot to two properties occupying a total land area of 9,999 sqm. Agchem initially served a small group of clients. Its roster has grown to several industrial partners consisting of multinational conglomerates as well as local business firms; covering agricultural areas in all parts of the country.
Starting off as a small player in the agricultural chemicals sector, today Agchem is considered among the leaders in the fast-growing industry. As an ISO-certified institution, Agchem maintains the highest quality standards which is the key to its survival and growth. The Fertilizer and Pesticide authority (FPA) which governs the industry has cited Agchem for its good manufacturing practice and environmentally sound operations. Credited with the success of Agchem are its founders – Dr. Felix K. Maramba, Jr (now deceased) and Mr. Jose Ma. Lopez (current chairman) – both visionaries and nationalists who blazed the trail in the local manufacture of crop protection products, with a committment to uplifting the lives of Filipino farmers.
Dr. Maramba studied at the University of the Philippines in Los Baños and afterwards completed masteral and doctor to degrees in chemistry at the University of Sydney in Australia. He was active in the business community, serving as president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) in January 1985 to December 1985, among other trade organizations. He passed away in 2010 leaving a legacy of Filipino ingenuity in entrepreneurship in Agchem as well as other companies he headed. Mr. Lopez was raised in a family of sugar planters in Bacolod which was his initial exposure to farming. After graduating from the Ateneo de Manila he took a masters degree in the prestigious Wharton School in the United States. This educational background coupled with experience in a wide range of enterprises has given him the wherewithal to steer Agchem to great heights. Despite the challenges specially during the early days of Agchem Dr. Maramba and Mr. Lopez together with a team of dedicated employees never wavered the pursuit of their mission. Succeeding Boards of Directors and officers have continued to imbibe these ideals which have become the guidepost for Agchem employees who are determined to make a contribution to the agriculture development of the Philippines.