Seven entities have signed a memorandum of understanding to provide livelihood opportunities and markets to coffee and abaca farmers from upland T’boli communities in South Cotabato.
The partnership was among the Peace and Equity Foundation, United States Agency for International Development, Philippine Fiber Industry Development Industry, United Maligang Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Joscual Trading, and the local government of T’boli town.
This will benefit 200 farmers of Knoon Highland Farmers Association and strengthen their community by helping them be competitive in the value chain while doing conservation-based agriculture.
According to Joscual Trading owner Jojo Joson, they hope to train 75 KHFA members to produce high-quality green coffee beans.
“We also want them to fully participate in the value chain by training them on how to process their coffee,” he said.
Joson added that bringing PFIDI, and UMFMPC will revitalize abaca production, a year-long crop as opposed to seasonal coffee.
Meanwhile, the T’boli LGU through the Office of the Municipal Agriculture, will provide other institutional development and capability-building assistance to KHFA and will monitor and evaluate the implementation of the projects based on the MoU.
For her part, PEF area officer Shunie Pearl Palacios noted that the community is looking forward to the development with the coming together of the leading stakeholders in the area.
“Farmers are more motivated to work hard on their farms knowing organizations and LGUs support them. I believe it’s a good start towards community empowerment, to trust each other,” she said.
Also present at the recent signing ceremony were T’boli Mayor Dibu Tuan, Councilor and Sangguniang Bayan Chairman on Agriculture Pacifico Cordada Jr., USAID Program Manager Rey Teves, and KHFA President Levy Calan.