PBSP, in partnership with Kennemer Foods International, Mars Foods and Agronomika Finance Corporation, has gotten the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark for the implementation of the landmark project “Sustainable Integration of Philippine Smallholder Farmers into the Global Cacao Value Chain” which is expected to assist 1,000 smallholder farmers in Palawan and Mindanao.
In spite of the Philippines’ rich and bountiful agricultural lands, majority of Filipino farmers still live in poverty.
Many smallholder Filipino farmers even have difficulty selling their crops in the market and lack opportunities to supply their produce to the food manufacturing industry. In the Southern Philippines, some of the common problems among farmers include small farm plots, ageing farmers, lack of knowledge, and lack of economic opportunities.
Through its Livelihood Program, the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) is helping address these problems by promoting inclusive business, supporting agro-enterprise value chain development and improving access to jobs through skills upgrading and employment facilitation. PBSP also seeks to expand economic opportunities through engagements with the private sector and partner organizations.
This year, PBSP, in partnership with Kennemer Foods International, Mars Foods and Agronomika Finance Corporation, has gotten the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark for the implementation of the landmark project “Sustainable Integration of Philippine Smallholder Farmers into the Global Cacao Value Chain” which is expected to assist 1,000 smallholder farmers in Palawan and Mindanao.
The project aims to create sustainable income opportunities by capacitating the farmers in intercropping their existing coconut with cacao farming and providing them with opportunities to engage in the global cocoa value chain of Mars Foods and Kennemer Foods International. Meanwhile, Agronomika Finance Corporation will provide the farmers with financial service, including loans, insurance services, savings, and payment systems.
The project is expected to generate at least 150 new jobs with the partner companies as well as farmer groups. Around 250 workers will also have access to income opportunities at farm and household levels.
Aside from the projected annual income increase of US$1,000 per hectare, the project will also empower farmers by helping them build voice and create economies of scale, increasing their technical knowhow in farming, and providing them with access to finance for planting cacao.
Moreover, partners of the project will follow socially responsible business conduct and standards in their operations and support the implementation of international, social, and environmental standards to enable farmers to access international certification programs and premium pricing.
The project is also expected to further leverage additional investments of the private sector into the cacao value chain, including research and development, demo and training farms, buying and post-harvest facilities, and quality management systems.
The project also supports the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs), primarily SDG 8 which aims to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all. By promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth, the project can help achieve higher levels of economic productivity among farmers through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation. This includes a focus on high-value added and labor-intensive sectors and strengthening the capacity of domestic financial institutions.
It also contributes to UN SDG 2 to end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture using the integrated cropping system. The project also supports SDG 1 to end poverty in all its forms everywhere by building resilience among poor farmers and reducing their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related events.
Lastly, the project supports SDG 15 to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss by promoting sustainable use of farms to prevent desertification.
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