THE International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will invest $63.5 million to support agriculture-based micro and small enterprises in 20 provinces across Eastern Visayas and Mindanao.
The IFAD’s Rural Agro-enterprise Partnerships for Inclusive Development and Growth Project (RAPID Growth) will be implemented by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and will support the growth of the enterprises in value chains with comparative advantage, market demand, growth potential, linkages to small farmers, and job-generating activities.
“The RAPID GROWTH project is in line with the Philippine Development Plan (2016-2022) and IFAD’s country strategy for 2017-2022 focusing on testing innovative models for improving the competitiveness, inclusion and resilience of agri-food value chains of relevance for poor and vulnerable households,” IFAD Philippines Country Director Alessandro Marini said in a statement.
IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized agency under the United Nations focused on investing in rural communities to help them achieve food security, good nutrition and higher income.
IFAD country program officer Jerry E. Pacturan said the RAPID GROWTH program support’s the agency’s commitment to support smallholder farmers and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Philippines, particularly those focused on cacao, coffee, coconut, and processed fruits and nuts.
“Domestic and regional demand for rural goods and agricultural commodities is growing rapidly. Enterprises that operate efficiently, sourcing sufficient quality raw materials, applying modern technology and complying with recognized product standards have substantial potential to create income opportunities for smallholder farmers and other disadvantaged groups in rural communities. This is why IFAD is interested in supporting the growth of these enterprises,” Mr. Pacturan said.
The IFAD also said it is considering the possibility of allocating part of its ongoing investment in the country to help in the rehabilitation of Marawi City in response to an official request by the Department of Finance (DoF).
“The core of the investment would be directed to the rehabilitation of irrigation infrastructure and related capacity building for affected communities, already identified by the Philippine government as part of the Bangon Marawi Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Program. The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) will be the main implementing partner as proposed by government. We are currently working with NIA and DoF to define the details of this support,” Mr. Marini said. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio