DAVAO CITY (June 21) – At least three cooperatives and hundreds of farmers in Davao Region will benefit from the signing of the Matching Grant Agreement (MGA) under the Rural Agro-Industrial Partnership for Inclusive Development and Growth (RAPID Growth) project of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 11.
The MGA, which was inked on May 31, details the productive investment (construction of mechanical dryer) and various business development support for the Biao Agrarian Beneficiaries Cooperative (BARBCO) of Purok Manga, Barangay Talandang, Davao City. This amounts to Php 1,594,736.
The interventions are designed to improve the association’s efficiency and capacity in trading dried fermented cacao beans (DFCB), as well as, in the production of cacao products. These are expected to improve its business profitability and sustainability.
In the meantime, a total of 262 smallholder cacao farmers belonging to the Southern Davao Multi-Purpose Cooperative (SDMC) and UNICARBAI Multi-Purpose Cooperative (UMPC) of Brgy. Basiawan, Sta. Maria, Davao Occidental will also indirectly benefit from these interventions. They could increase the overall profitability of BARBCO as their primary buyer. As such, this could result in better buying prices of DFCB as the latterr upscales its business operations.
DTI 11 Regional Director Maria Belenda Q. Ambi shared that the project will provide interventions to these associations, including seedlings for cacao farm expansion, farm tools for rehabilitation areas, and various capability building interventions.
Ambi, who also sits as the national director of the RAPID Growth Project, added that the total project intervention cost for UMPC and SMDC is pegged at Php 3,832,200. The amount is allocated specifically for the cacao smallholder farmers, who are members of the said groups. The UMDC is set to receive Php 1,950,000, while SMDC will get Php 1,882,200 as project support.
“Given the market potential indicated in the business plans, especially in the commercial partnership agreement with BARBCO, these investments and interventions were deemed to be feasible and viable,” the local trade chief said.
Ambi further noted that BARBCO will also support these associations through training interventions, including the production of high-quality cacao beans to meet the standards. This is anticipated to increase the household income of the cacao farmer-members.
Apart from the farmer-beneficiaries in Davao Occidental, the DIP will also bring opportunities to the 445 smallholder farmers in Davao City. Specifically, these are the 247 farmer-members of the Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP) clusters and the 198 BARBCO-affiliated smallholder farmers in the city’s third district. BARBCO operates as the consolidator and processor of wet beans in the region.
“The RAPID Growth Project’s identified interventions and investments to the detailed investment plans or DIPs aim to bridge the supply gaps by providing investments, matching grants, and several business development support to BARBCO and its farmer associations and other key players in the supply chain,” Ambi explained, adding that to further strengthen the supply chain, the project likewise collaborates with the different cacao industry enablers.
The BARBCO Supply Chain is the first-ever DIP that the RAPID Growth Project’s official development assistance (ODA) International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has approved in Davao Region.
The ceremonial MGA-signing was attended by the RAPID Growth Project Manager Mae Ester Guiamadel, DTI-Davao City director Rachel S. Remitio, DTI 11 chief for management support services Marilou D. Laguting, and BARBCO’s chairperson Godofredo C. Rangas and manager Guadalupe C. Ocial. END