Forest Foundation Philippines and the Department of Trade and Industry Region 10 (DTI Region 10) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the implementation of the Rural Agro-enterprise Partnership for Inclusive Development and Growth Project (RAPID Growth Project).
The RAPID Growth Project, implemented by DTI Region 10, is a value chain based development program which seeks to establish strategic partnership among key players of the focused value chain to achieve the goal of increasing the income of small farmers and unemployed rural women and men by providing the enabling conditions for the sustained growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), and establishing strong backward linkages with farmers in the Coffee, Cacao, Coconut and Processed Fruits and Nuts Sectors.
The partnership will strengthen forest protection in Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental by enhancing community-based agroforestry enterprises through the implementation of initiatives related to sustainable livelihoods, value chain approach, and marketing for forest-dependent communities who are planting cacao and coffee.
“This is a momentous event where we are linking two important factors in development – economy, which is the mandate of DTI, and environment, which is the mandate of Forest Foundation,” said Mr. Ruel Paclipan, Assistant Regional Director of DTI Region 10. Mr. Romeo Castañaga, Deputy National Project Director of the DTI RAPID Growth Project, added, “We are glad that we have this strategic partnership that enables both ecology and the economy.”
Atty. Jose Andres Canivel, Executive Director of Forest Foundation Philippines, shared, “We have three reasons why we joined this partnership. First, it is relevant to the Foundation. DTI is working towards sustainable economic development. Meanwhile, Forest Foundation is working to protect and conserve our forests. By planting agroforestry products, we are able to conserve forests by moving people away from harmful farming practices. Second, this will ensure that the economic activities that we are pursuing will result in keeping the trees standing. Third, this is timely because we recently started working with agroforestry communities. We can’t conserve the forests without addressing their economic concerns. This partnership is an opportunity to demonstrate that we can enhance incomes and forests by planting the right species and working with the right people to deliver rural development through collaboration.”
“We will do our best as linkages to realize the objectives that are set by the project. This partnership will aid us in making the RAPID project more inclusive, especially in working with the indigenous peoples, to ensure the protection of forests in Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental,” said Mr. Emedio Abang, Regional Director of DTI Region 10.
Aside from working with the indigenous peoples, Ms. Jocelyn Rosales, Head of the Special Projects Management Unit in DTI Region 10, furthered, “This will enable us to work with small-holder farmers. It is prudent that we work together as enablers of community development.”
Mr. Dennis Rosales, Landscape Coordinator for Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental of Forest Foundation Philippines, added, “This will bring us together at the community level by working with farmers and forest-dependent communities.”
DTI is the primary coordinative, promotive, facilitative, and regulatory arm of the Philippine government with the country’s trade, industry, and investment activities.
Established in 2002, under a bilateral agreement between the governments of the United States of America and the Philippines, Forest Foundation Philippines is a nonprofit organization that provides grants to organizations that empower the people to protect and conserve the forests.