President Aquino launches Mindanao Inclusive Agribusiness Program

Source: Office of the President of the Philippines

President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday thanked the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) for helping the government develop Mindanao’s agricultural potentials through its Mindanao Inclusive Agribusiness Program.
“I am glad to see that the government is not alone through this endeavor. Through the Mindanao Inclusive Agribusiness Program, PBSP and its member companies and supporting agencies seek to

engage the private sector to invest in Mindanao by helping build the capacities of its small farming communities, thus enabling them to capitalize on the rich resources and the many opportunities available in the region,” President Aquino said during the launch of the program at the SMX Convention Center here.

President Aquino said the launch of the initiative comes at an opportune time, as the government seeks to transform Mindanao “from the Land of Promise to the Land of Promises Fulfilled.”

He acknowledged that for a long time, Mindanao was left in the margins, suffering from poverty and underdevelopment, but his administration has worked to reform the system and invest in communities in the region.
“We must boost Mindanao’s capacities, so that they themselves may catch up and contribute to our economic growth,” he said.
The government’s efforts resulted in the construction, upgrading and rehabilitation of 3,491 km of national roads, and 208.4 km of farm‐to‐market roads, he said, adding that more than P99 billion was allotted for the construction of vital infrastructure in the region from 2011 to 2014, and P63.13 billion has been proposed for infrastructure in Mindanao for 2015.

Some 161.3 km of the Digos‐Kidapawan‐Pagalungan ‐Cotabato Road were improved and 39 bridges were rehabilitated early this year, while the Basilan Circumferential Road is expected to be finished soon, he said.

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The Lake Lanao Circumferential Road Project in Lanao del Sur is also targeted to be completed next year, he said.

President Aquino further said that the Department of Agriculture has helped build post‐harvest facilities and provide equipment for the production of coffee, cacao, and rubber for the region.

He also called on farmers to carry out intercropping to increase the income of the agricultural sector.

Growing coffee, bananas, or cacao, alongside coconuts, will not only diversify the produce of a community, but will enable the farmer to earn more, and contribute more to the region’s economic activities, he said.

The President said he earlier learned that certain companies have already responded to the call to advance inclusive business in Mindanao.
Citing examples, he said that through its agronomy and farmer‐connect programs, Nestlé has equipped local farmers with the knowledge and technique for coffee production. The company also purchases the farmers’ produce.

Bali Oil taps poor farmers from communities in Mindanao as contract growers of oil palm trees, he said, adding that in the next five years, the company plans to expand operations and provide livelihood to 22,500 households in the region.

Kennemer Foods International meanwhile trains farmers from rural areas how to plant cacao trees, and purchases their produce, aiming to generate jobs for 18,833 households in Palawan, Mindanao, and Visayas by 2016.

“If the public and private sectors remain committed to the same vision and if we maintain the synergy and trust that we have so far harnessed to undeniably positive results, we can look forward to a Mindanao that will serve as a true convergence point of trade and opportunity not only for the Philippines but also for our region,” President Aquino said.

Present during the event were Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, Mindanao Development Authority Chairperson Luwalhati Antonino, PBSP Mindanao Regional Committee Chairman Paul Dominguez, and PBSP Executive Director Rafael Lopa.

Kennemer signs contract with farmer­ beneficiaries on cacao product

Source: DAR­BDCD Zamboanga del Norte

The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) recently signed the Cacao Production and Purchase Agreement with Kennemer Foods International, Inc (KFI) involving five Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Organizations (ARBOs) in the selected Agrarian Reform Communities (ARC) in the Province of Zamboanga del Norte.
Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II (PARPO II) Moh Dassan Adju said that a total of
Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II (PARPO II) Moh Dassan Adju said that a total of 1200 hectares of agricultural land will be planted with cacao in the selected ARCs of this province. The Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) will finance the cacao production under the Agricultural Production Credit Program (APCP) amounting to Php 88 million through loan. Meanwhile, DAR will assist the ARBOs in the preparation of loan documentary requirements for submission to LBP.

The KFI through Allan M. Datu‐Iman said that they have a long term growing program for the cacao farmers. KFI will provide the high quality cacao seedlings, trainings, supervision and a buy‐ back guarantee of the harvest.

The five ARBOs who will benefit the project are Gabu, Balas, Lawigan Agrarian Reform Cooperative (GABALARBECO) in Labason; San Miguel Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi‐ Purpose Cooperative (SMARBEMCO) in Mutia; Siari Valley Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi‐ Purpose Cooperative (SVARBEMCO) in Sindangan; Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries of Marcelo Multi‐Purpose Cooperative ( ARBEMCO) in Kalawit; and, Depane, Don Jose Aguirre, Gupot, Linay, Lingatongan, Saluyong Agrarian Reform, Cooperative (DAGLLISARCO) in Manukan. “The DAR‐KFI partnership will bring the desired outcome of increased farmer’s income and farm productivity. That compelled us to expand our target from 200 hectares to 1,500 hectares cacao area in the entire province,” said PARPO I Rizzel B. Villanueva.

PARO Villanueva added that a minimum of 100 hectares per municipality will be established to the 15 municipalities as a pilot area to serve as catalyst for good cultural practices of cacao growing.
Gracing the agreement signing‐activity and expressing their support to the program were Sindangan Mayor Florentino Sy, Labason Mayor Eddie Quimbo, LBP Manager‐Lending Center Vinicius Hamoy, KFI Marketing Specialist Virginio Jamon, ARBO Chairmen and other DAR Officials.