KORONADAL, SOUTH COTABATO – The Rural Agro-Enterprise Partnership for Inclusive Development and Growth (RAPID Growth) project of the Department of Trade and Industry Region 12 (DTI-Region 12) has assisted for the year 2020 a total of 57 cacao and coffee farmer-organizations in Region 12 through the forging of commercial partnership agreements with institutional buyers.

The forging of RAPID Growth’s commercial partnership agreements aimed to encourage the participation of institutional buyers as anchor firms, and as partners with the project’s farmer-beneficiaries. As anchor firms, they shall provide a stable market for the farmers’ produce as well as the necessary marketing development and technical interventions in addition to the assistance provided by the project.

In Region 12, thirteen (13) coffee and four (4) cacao anchor firms were linked to the farmer-organizations with a record of 3,357 farming household-members across the value-chains who will benefit from the said agreements. The provinces covered under the project are Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato, and Sarangani.

The total number of farmer-organizations in the region linked with the buyers are 19 in Sultan Kudarat, 18 in North Cotabato, and 20 in Sarangani province.

Among the anchor firms enrolled are Nestle Philippines, Inc. and Kennemer Foods Inc., which are country’s key buyers and processors of coffee and cacao beans respectively.

Aside from large institutional buyers, the project has also enrolled small to medium local enterprises which will serve as “big brother” firms that will not only assure a market for locally produced products but will also provide technical assistance in technology and product development sharing.

Jude Constantine S. Jaugan, regional director of DTI-Region 12, said that through the RAPID Growth Project, DTI can extend assistance to beneficiaries across the value-chains of the coffee and cacao industries.

“We aim to spur rural socio-economic development, improve the productive capacity of farmers, and enhance the quality of their production,” said Jaugan.

The RAPID Growth Project of DTI is a five-year project being funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The project supports the socio-economic agenda of the current administration in reducing poverty through strengthening rural enterprises particularly in provinces with poverty incidence above forty percent.

Aside from coffee and cacao, the project also assists farmer-organizations that are into coconut, and processed fruits and nuts, particularly in calamansi and cardava banana production.♦

Date of Release: 27 January 2021