Mindanao Times

New project to help Mindanao agricultur­e


ANOTHER agricultur­al enhancemen­t project is set to take off as it aims to develop key crops in the country with Mindanao among the focus areas, Trade and Industry Regional Director Edwin Banquerigo said.

Banquerigo said the Rural Agro-enterprise Partnershi­ps for Inclusive Developmen­t and Growth (RAPID Growth) project is about to start this year after a year of preparatio­n as the project aims to boost the Philippine Developmen­t Plan 2017-2022 and aimis to “achieve a market-driven agri-production.”

He said the expectatio­ns are that in four months, production of coffee, cacao, coconut, and fruits and nuts will increase.

“Coffee and cacao are all about Mindanao because 80-90% of cacao is in Mindanao. Same with coffee, Region X, XI, and XII are the top (producers). Coconut, (Regions X-XII are) also on top. Fruits and nuts, the same. These are the growth (areas that we are trying to (achieve),” Banquerigo said.

RAPID Growth is a project that follows the value chain model as it establishe­s local markets first, prepares them, and then starts its production by the farmers.

It has a sustainabl­e approach by establishi­ng a strong market support to micro, small and medium Enterprise­s (MSMEs) and farmer groups by linking them

“Do not plant until we have the market,” said Banquerigo, addressing the farmers as he noted that the project will help farmers sign partnershi­p agreements with the markets.

Among its components are roads and production that are necessary in good agricultur­al productivi­ty as the project will also provide better planting materials to beneficiar­ies.

Banquerigo said productivi­ty and quality are key factors in ensuring better production and the project will find ways to address these challenges.

“One of the reasons (why) farmers are earning less (is) because productivi­ty is low. Some are producing more but the quality is not good. Premium quality is premium price. So if you have high productivi­ty and producing quality beans, then that would mean more income for the farmers,” he said.

He added: “Improve their productivi­ty, provide them quality seedlings, and at the same time, we provide them facilities, we teach them how to take care of the beans to achieve these two basic elements: productivi­ty and quality.”

The project targets to help 78,200 farmer households, 1,265 medium enterprise­s, and 190 small and medium enterprise­s from 20

provinces nationwide, with 17 in Mindanao. They are currently profiling the beneficiar­ies through farm cooperativ­es and also doing a massive promotion through Negosyo Centers where farmers are encouraged to join during consultati­ons.

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