Collab eyed to sustain value chains in Sultan Kudarat
Situated in the southwestern part of Mindanao, the municipalities of Lebak and Kalamansig in Sultan Kudarat are known for their rich natural resources. Their land is ideal for agriculture; it is seldom reached by strong typhoons; and these towns border the Moro Gulf, one of the major fishing grounds in the country.
Despite these advantages, poverty incidence in Lebak stands at 34.7% and Kalamansig at 42.2%.
To improve the well-being of households living below the poverty threshold, stakeholders in these areas are looking at developing its primary commodities by working together.
Improving the value chain
In a stakeholders’ meeting spearheaded by the Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF) on May 25, 2022, representatives from the local government agencies and units, different people’s organizations, and local foundations shared their aspirations for their communities, presented their initiatives and proposed how they can converge their respective initiatives.
Major discussions also centered around improving the coffee value chain, a major driver of growth in the two municipalities.
In December 2021, ten organizations signed a memorandum of agreement to support the implementation of the Provincial Commodity Investment Plan (PCIP), which was crafted to help the coffee industry and other value chains in the province. According to Sultan Kudarat Supervising Agriculturist Reynaldo Zaragoza, Jr., the province is looking at four other commodities: coconut, banana, mango, and rice.
“In terms of coffee, what we are aiming for is to compete internationally when it comes to production,” he said.
Collab key to sustainability
According to Senen Bacani, former Department of Agriculture Secretary and current PEF Chair, the meeting should serve as the first step towards more partnerships.
“What we learned in PEF in the past 20 years is to connect with collaborative partners on the ground to achieve our common goals”, he said.
The Foundation is one of the implementing partners of the Strengthening Off-grid Lighting with Appropriate Renewable Energy Solutions or SOLARES project, a partnership between PEF, Mahintana Foundation, electric cooperatives, microfinance institutions, and people’s organizations operating in Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani, with funding support from the European Union under its Access to Sustainable Energy Programme (ASEP). The collaborative arrangement aimed to benefit 6,000 households in the two provinces.
PEF Executive Director Roberto Calingo also called on the stakeholders to “begin turning our ideas into actions” to help the poor households in the two municipalities.