KAPALONG, Davao del Norte (JUNE 21) – The 2.7 kilometers farm-to-market road project here is expected to benefit at least a thousand residents and over 200 local smallholder farmers.
The almost Php47.4 million project, which is the very first FMR sub-project approved under the Rural Agro-Enterprise Partnership for Inclusive Development Growth (RAPID Growth) project, stretches from New Agno, Mabantao (Purok Sampalok) to Mabuhay (Purok 6A) Capungagan in the municipality of Kapalong, The RAPID Growth is a business development initiative that is both market-driven and value chain-based, which the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) implements.
This sub-project aims to provide infrastructure support to farming communities under the road influence areas consisting of Barangay Mabantao and Capungagan. The value chain identified in this sub-project is the cacao, in support of the Kapalong Cooperative’s cacao production and beans storage and receiving facility located right at the end of the proposed farm-to-market infrastructure. This FMR will provide more socio-economic benefits as more beans would be coming in and maximize the processing capacity which will translate to an increase in sales of the cooperative and eventually increase the household income of smallholder farmers.
Additionally, the production and trading of other crops such as corn, rice, banana, cash crops, and economic activities will also benefit from this subproject as this farm-to-market road is considered to be the major channel of the municipality’s agricultural industry.
The construction of the FMR is targeted for completion by March 2023.
Trade Undersecretary for Regional Operations Group (ROG) Blesila A. Lantayona noted that this project aims to link the smallholder farmers to the market and spur rural economic development to upscale the agricultural value chain.
Lantayona, who led the groundbreaking ceremony on June 20, added that DTI is holistically providing support to the MSMEs and farmers. Hence, she extended her appreciation to the different partners, stakeholders, other agencies, and the local government unit (LGU) of Kapalong for being active and responsive to the project.
Meanwhile, DTI 11 Regional Director Maria Belenda Q. Ambi disclosed that a total of 1,670 residents, of which 263 are smallholder cacao farmers, will be provided with more opportunities once the project is completed. With the FMR in place, she said, the movement of goods and services from the area to the market would be easier and faster.
“The smallholder cacao farmers are also beneficiaries of other initiatives, such as the support for rehabilitation and expansion to increase their cacao production. To make our interventions even more holistic, we are also preparing them for the market, and this FMR will give our farmers access to the market,” Ambi said.
At the same time, the local trade official, who is also the national director of the RAPID Growth, emphasized the responsibility and accountability of their partner–agencies, as well as, the participation of the concerned LGU in the completion of the project.
For her part, Kapalong Municipal Mayor Maria Theresa R. Timbol expressed her heartful gratitude to the DTI for its support in uplifting the socio-economic status of the cacao farmers in the area. The local chief executive, who likewise graced the event, shared the LGU’s commitment to the success of the project.
The other dignitaries present during the groundbreaking ceremony were DTI 11 Assistant Regional Director Delia M. Ayano, DTI Davao del Norte Provincial Director Romeo L. Castaǹaga, DILG Davao de Norte OIC-Provincial Director Jonathan J. Leybag, DTI 11 chief for management support services Marilou D. Laguting, DTI-Resource Generation Management Services supervising trade-industry development specialist May P. Cruz, RAPID Growth project manager Mae Ester Guiamadel, and Kapalong Cooperative chairperson lawyer Rosario B. Dayaday.