World Bank country director visits Davao's Cacao project

The Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper - - News - Manual) (Sherwin B.

DAVAO CITY – The new country director of theWorld Bank office in the Philippines Mara K. Warwick visited recently cacao farmers here and she was impressed with the project.

It was Warwick's first project visit in her new assignment. She replaced Motoo Konishi, who retired recently after 35 years of service at the World Bank.

Warwick and her team went to meet the beneficiaries of the recently approved P26-million Cacao Production and Dry-fermented beans marketing in Barangay Subasta in Calinan, a project implemented under the Department of Agriculture – Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP).

DA-PRDP is a six-year rural development project worth P27.5 billion through a loan from World Bank worth P20.56 billion, and P7billion counterpart from the Government of the Philippines (GOP) and Local Government Units (LGUs).

“This is the very first project I’ve visited (in the Philippines). So I am really thrilled to see you and your project,” Warwick said during her speech in a gathering of about 50 farmers and project implementers in Subasta Integrated Multipurpose Cooperative farm.

“I really thank you for your dedication and for your enthusiasm to be part of the World Bank funded Program. I know you put so much hard work and many number of hours in the preparation of the plans and attending meetings and other activities,” she added.

With her are PRDP task team leader and WB Senior rural Development Economist Frauke Jungbluth , Lead economist Aleksandra Posarac and senior communications officer Dave Llorito.

The WB team was delighted to see the operation and existing facilities of lead proponent Subasta Integrated Multipurpose Cooperative which has been extended by DA Davao Region’s High Value Crops Development Program.

During the farmers’ interaction, Lorita Tadios of Biao Joaquin Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries shared with Warwick that her cacao produce has been a source of additional income for the family.

“We have been planting cacao ever since I could remember. It is easy to grow as inter-crop with other crops like fruits trees and coconut. Cacao gives us additional income and with this project we are hoping to make it bigger in the market.

Tadios has a 3-hectare farm and at least 1 hectare is devoted to cacao.

Engr. Froilan Rigor, IBUILD Focal and Planning officer of Davao City presented DDS or the Davao Development Strategy which outlines the key infrastructures planned to be established in three years that will link the city’s production area to the bigger markets in Davao city and nearby commercial centers.

Cacao is the champion commodity of Davao region under DA-PRDP. According to DA regional director Remelyn R. Recoter Davao takes at least 80 percent of the country’s cacao production making the PRDP support to cacao farmers in the city very relevant.

“But still we are only contributing only very little to the world’s demand on cacao,” Recoter said

Warwick, an Australian national and the first female country director for the Philippines, said she is impressed with the ongoing project. “The kind of work that you are doing here and the aspirations that you have will be fully supported and I can assure you that from the World Bank side we will continue to support you strongly,” she said addressing the farmers.

For 75-year old Julius Zaragoza, president of the lead proponent Subasta Integrated Multipurpose cooperative the goal of the help other small farmers improve their lot. “In our farms we grow coconuts, the tree of life; coffee, the tree of peace; and cacao, the tree of love," he said.

The World Bank team was in the city to join the twoday the Sulong Pilipinas business workshop which assemble more than 300 businessmen at SMX Convention Center convened by President-elect Rodrigo Duterte's economic team.

Sulong Pilipinas aims to gather recommendations from businessmen on Duterte's 10-point Socioeconomic Agenda.

KCC Mall in Zamboanga City in southern Philippines steps up security, taps K9 unit to sniff out explosives and firearms in vehicles entering its basement parking area. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

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