Cargill and PBSP partner to support Filipino farmers in post-Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) livelihood rehabilitation
Project to benefit coconut farmers in Eastern Visayas
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MANILA, Philippines – 26 March 2014: Further strengthening its commitment to contribute to post-Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) recovery efforts, Cargill Philippines has entered into an PHP 11 million (USD250k) partnership with Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) designed to rehabilitate coconut farming communities in parts of Leyte province.
The initiative, which will be rolled out in Barangay Inangatan, Tabango, Leyte and other nearby areas, aims to help address the damage caused last year by the super typhoon on agricultural production in Eastern Visayas, considered to be the country’s second highest coconut producing region. Cargill and PBSP will undertake the project in collaboration with the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), the Department of Agriculture (DA), Visayas State University (VSU) - Villlaba Campus and the local government of Tabango, Leyte.
“We recognize the need for a long-term, holistic, and sustainable program in order to truly make an impact in the lives of those affected by super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan),” remarked Philip Soliven, President of Cargill Philippines. “With this project, we hope to contribute to the rebuilding and, eventually, further developing the livelihoods of the area’s coconut farmers.”
As part of its objectives, the initiative will establish a coconut nursery for the propagation of seedlings; the facility is expected to supply 70,000 seedlings a year for long-term coconut rehabilitation in the municipality and the surrounding areas.
The project also aims to rehabilitate coconut farms in the area. In the second semester of 2014, 150 hectares will be planted with a fast growing coconut variety and intercropped with corn as a short-term gestating crop. This will be rolled over three more times at 150 hectares per cycle until the middle of 2016, to achieve a cumulative reach of 600 hectares over two years.
Two 5,000 sq. meter demonstration farms will also be established at two different sites to promote cash crop production as a source of income and food for the farmers while waiting for the coconut trees to bear fruit. The demonstration farms will showcase appropriate integrated farming systems technologies such as vegetable production, fish farming, and backyard poultry and livestock raising, among others.
Apart from these, coconut farmers will also receive training on Integrated Farming Systems from PBSP’s Center for Rural Technology Development (CRTD). The expected 400 farmer-beneficiaries will also be organized into a farmers’ association whose leaders will also receive development, financial management, and project management training, among others, in order to ensure the sustainability of the program.
“We greatly applaud the efforts of Cargill, one of PBSP’s newest members, in heeding the call to support those affected by super typhoon Yolanda,” said Mr. Rene Fortuno, Director for Livelihood and Enterprise Development Program of PBSP, which will monitor the implementation of project activities and submit quarterly reports on the status of the project. “We look forward to further collaborating with Cargill for the successful implementation of the project.”
Reflecting its focus on sustainability, the project is designed to eventually allow the development of an inclusive business model for Cargill that may involve, but is not limited to, the sourcing of coconut materials as well as other produce from the initiative’s intercrop/cash crop selection for use in its primary product processing operations. It is also envisioned to successfully link Cargill’s core coconut business to efforts aimed at reducing poverty among coconut farmers.
Previously, Cargill raised around US $500,000 in cash donations to aid the survivors of super typhoon Haiyan, partnering with the UN World Food Program for initial immediate relief works to ensure the survival of the victims and with the PSBP to deliver life-saving and early recovery assistance, including food and comfort packs, and provide for shelter repair kits to help mend damaged houses in affected areas.
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