CAGAYAN DE ORO -The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) jointly launched the Convergence on Value Chain Enhancement for Rural Growth and Empowerment project (ConVERGE) at a ceremony in Pryce Plaza Hotel on January 21, 2016.
The project covers 11 agrarian reform community clusters in 10 provinces across Regions 9 (Western Mindanao), 10 (Northern Mindanao), and 13 (Caraga).
DAR Undersecretary for Foreign Assisted and Special Projects Herman Ongkiko said Project ConVERGE is the 15th project of IFAD in the Philippines, “its goal is to reduce poverty incidence in 10 target provinces in Regions 9, 10, and 13 through the promotion of sustainable livelihood activities based on key commodities, such as rice, rubber, coffee, cassava, and coco sugar that are deemed competitive in the areas.”
Ongkiko explained that the PHP 2,284.93 million project will be implemented from 2015 to 2020. “Project ConVERGE will benefit 300,512 smallholder farmers and rural workers. In Northern Mindanao, the project will cover Misamis Oriental, Camguin, and Bukidnon,” he added.
In his opening message, DAR-10 Regional Director Faisar Mambuay expressed his gratitude for the launching of the project and thanked the IFAD for its support to agricultural productivity in achieving peace and development in the country.
Meanwhile, IFAD South-East Asia Manager Benoit Thierry cited the importance of Project ConVERGE in uplifting living conditions of the farmers. He said the integration of the value chain is a key objective not only for the project, but also for the agricultural smallholders.
The project is being co-implemented by DAR and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), with cooperation from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the National Commission on the Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Mindanao Development Authority, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the local government units. (Ressan Nash N. Alonto/ERS)
Present during the Project ConVERGE launching (from left) DAR-9 Regional Director Felix Aguhob, DAR-Caraga RD Julita Ragandang, DAR-PMS Director Ma. Celerina Afable, IFAD Country Program Officer Yolando Arban, IFAD Manager for South East Asia Benoit Thierry, DAR Usec. for Foreign-assisted and Special Projects Herman Ongkiko and DAR-10 RD Faisar Mambuay.