2019 Chairperson’s Message
Mr. Senen Bacani (2019 Annual Report)
In 2019, the agriculture sector faced challenges that have severely affected farmers across the country: the signing of Rice Tariffication Law which caused palay prices to go down due to the influx of cheaper rice imports; the steep decline of copra prices forced farmers to stop harvesting crops; and the extreme weather conditions such as intense periods of heavy rain and longer dry periods threatened farmers’ livelihoods.
Despite these challenges, the Foundation with its limited resources carried on in helping communities increase their incomes and improve their access to basic needs.
Early markers of progress are starting to emerge.
Among the 6,000 households that we have assisted through investments in social enterprises, there are stories of progress worth noting. One compelling story is about a fisherfolk community in Padre Burgos, Quezon. Through a local partner, fisherfolks like Nelson Angeles, known as Mang Boy, were able to double their income by managing fishponds and fish cages that yield different varieties of fish.
In San Isidro, Davao del Norte, our coconut farmers are clustered to improve production efficiency and reduce logistics costs. While we are still in the initial stages, our program in San Isidro will eventually provide us model farms that can serve as classrooms for other farmers to replicate our gains in the town. This will create a ripple effect in the value chain, showing our partners that we are not only providing solutions to their economic woes. The social impact of our work is sometimes bigger than the outcomes we are expecting.
Our partnerships with local actors in the priority areas support the Foundation’s efforts to strengthen social enterprises. Local governments, in particular, are critical partners in unifying different stakeholders toward common goals.
Through a more integrated approach, PEF intends to augment economic opportunities with access to basic services and good farming practices. Collaboration with various groups and institutions is increasingly important to achieve impact.
As we move forward towards new directions, and with the impact of COVID-19 as part of our new reality, we will continue to help farmers like Mang Boy and their families to have more opportunities even under these challenging times. With the guidance and wisdom of the Board, the efforts of our staff, and support of our partners and stakeholders, we will do our best to utilize the full potential of our resources and manage them efficiently.
And while there is more work ahead of us, the Foundation will continue to bank on the noble ideal that it is a social good to support poor Filipino households for them to be part of the progress and development of our nation.