DTI, Nestlé tie up to help farmers
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Nestlé Philippines have partnered to help foster agricultural development in the country by extending various forms of assistance including financing to farmers.
Top officials from both parties signed on Tuesday a Memorandum of Understanding to help implement the Rural Agro-Enterprise Partnership for Inclusive Development and Growth (RAPID Growth) Project.
In a DTI statement, the agency said it would collaborate with Nestlé Philippines to increase the incomes of small-holder coffee farmers through various interventions that include training; access to raw materials, technology or equipment, and provision of a ready market.
Under this collaboration, the DTI will tap into the best practices and established linkages of Nestlé’s Nescafé Plan, the country’s biggest and longest-running private sector coffee sustainability program, and its flagship Project Coffee+, an initiative seeking to turn 1,500 coffee farmers in Bukidnon and Sultan Kudarat into agripreneurs.
Nestlé Philippines is considered the biggest local coffee buyer in the country.
“As the project generates more income for communities, it stimulates rural economies, which in turn contributes to peace and security. These communities can now advance their own interests and remove the obstacles that prevent them from creating better lives for themselves,” said Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.
Launched in 2019, the RAPID Growth Project aims to stimulate agri-enterprise development. This is funded by $65.9 million in loans and grants from the International Fund for Agricultural Development with the goal of delivering inclusive and sustainable growth to rural areas.
Both DTI and Nestlé have committed to work together in supporting technology transfer training, which will include building skills in productivity and quality improvement, entrepreneurship, and product and market development that are needed to enhance productivity levels and expand production areas.
Participating coffee farmers will be taught how to rehabilitate existing production areas, enhance crop quality and diversify farm output to improve their socioeconomic conditions.
Experts from the Nescafé Plan will assist in assessing technology requirements and provision of post-harvest and value-adding equipment or facilities that may be jointly supported by RAPID Growth partners.
Inclusion, convergence and collaboration are key project implementation thrusts of the RAPID Growth Project. By lifting farmers out of poverty and filling the gaps in the agri-enterprise value chain, the country can move forward to its goal of achieving food security and economic progress. INQ
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