Livelihood program set for T’bolis in South Cotabato
Seven entities signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to provide livelihood opportunities and markets to coffee and abaca farmers from upland T’boli communities in South Cotabato.
The partnership among the Peace and Equity Foundation, United States Agency for International Development, Philippine Fiber Industry Development Industry (PFIDI), United Maligang Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Joscual Trading and the local government unit (LGU) of T'boli will benefit 200 farmers of Knoon Highland Farmers Association (KHFA) 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.
“Second to that, 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.
“Na-observe ko na tumaas ang level ng motivation ng mga farmers to work hard sa mga farms nila knowing na may mga organizations at LGU na nakasuporta sa kanila. I believe it's a good start towards community empowerment, to trust each other,” she said.
Also present at the signing ceremony held on 18 November 2019 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.