Agribusiness, Philippine government, and international organizations team up to support micro-enterprises in Oriental Mindoro

Agribusiness in the Philippines joins the global public-partnership coalition in providing technical assistance and mentorship to farmer-based micro-enterprises in Oriental Mindoro.

The companies specialized in processing banana, calamansi, coconuts, and seaweeds commodities, facilitated by the Philippines Business for Social Progress (PBSP) gathered together to join the Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG) of the multi-year project titled “Climate Resilient and Inclusive Green Growth for Poor Rural Communities: Accelerating Implementation in the Agriculture Value Chain”. The project is implemented by the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) and Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Provincial Government of Oriental Mindoro.

One of the key pillars of the project provides financing and technical assistance to modernize the processing facilities and enhance the capabilities of selected micro-enterprises (agri cooperatives) to meet the compliance standards of the Food and Drug Administration of the Philippines (FDA). These interventions, implemented within 2020-2024 project period, lead to the end goal of increasing the revenue of micro-enterprises and household income of smallholder farmers. The PSAG is designed to provide strategic and technical guidance, as well as mentoring to micro-enterprises whose members are smallholder farmers who significantly require technical and investment support.

On 10 May 2021, the PSAG held its kick-off meeting to update the group on progress of the project, including the investment and technical assistance plans for the micro-enterprises and the proposed Provincial Agricultural Center.

Mr. Juhern Kim, Country Representative of GGGI, expressed that “market knowledge to be shared by this Private Sector Advisory Group will be crucial in adding value to the grant-based project, as it will guide agri-cooperatives how to sustain growth thus their livelihood after this project intervention.”

Mr. Elvin Uy, Executive Director of PBSP, said that this project comes at a perfect time when small businesses require additional support due to the severe economic impact of the pandemic. Members of the PSAG committed to share their expertise and support the project, which can significantly contribute toward inclusive recovery post-COVID 19 pandemic.

In the agriculture sector in the Philippines, MSMEs are a driving force in stimulating value addition to farm commodities, increasing incomes of smallholder farmers, and creating various economic opportunities in rural areas where poverty remains high. However, the ability of MSMEs to enable vast agricultural potential is constrained due to limited access to financing and vulnerability to external shocks and natural disasters, including climate change impacts. The project aims to help bridge the technical and financing gaps so that farmers and workers in the agriculture sector can move beyond subsistence agriculture and become successful entrepreneurs.

The PSAG’s inaugural members are Marine Algae Products, Inc., GH Nutripharma Inc, Binhibiofarm Co., Soyuz Foods International Inc., Virgin Coconut Oil Producers & Traders, Paglas Corporation, Polyfruits, Inc., and AG Pacific Nutriceuticals Corporation.

SAMASABALATASAN Cooperative Interview

A member of the SAMASABALATASAN Cooperative based in Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro responds to interview questions regarding issues impeding the growth of their organization. As the only seaweed processor in the province, the cooperative’s most pressing concern is access to financing and the rising transaction costs of prompt credit.

PARIC Focus Group Discussion

Members of PARIC cooperative based in the Municipality of Victoria, Oriental Mindoro, participate in the focus group discussions on the investment and technical assistance plans to enhance their productive capacity in calamansi processing.

Members of the Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG), the Global Green Growth Institute, headed by Country Representative Juhern Kim, and Philippine Business for Social Progress, led by Executive Director Elvin Uy, held a virtual kick-off meeting on 10 May 2021 to discuss about the progress of the investment and technical assistance plans for farmer-based cooperatives in Oriental Mindoro.