DAR, IFAD project to boost farmers’ lives in Soccsksargen
COTABATO CITY – The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), are set to launch the newest foreign-assisted project dubbed as “Value Chain Innovation for Sustainable Transformation in Agrarian Reform Communities” (VISTA) Project.
In a statement Sunday, DAR said the VISTA Project aims to improve the livelihood and enhance the community resilience of vulnerable rural populations through a value chain development approach anchored to natural ecosystem adaptation.
The IFAD mission team is composed of experts worldwide who specialize in rural finance, value chain innovation, environment and natural resources, institution, governance, land tenure, gender, and targeting and social inclusion.
Representatives of DAR and IFAD initially met in Koronadal City early this month to discuss the project's the salient points.
Dorothy Lucks, IFAD team leader, said she was excited on the possibilities that this region can offer in terms of production and marketing innovation of coffee, cacao, and coconut for the benefit of ARBs in agrarian reform communities (ARCs).
"The VISTA Project aims to increase employment, improve food security and nutrition, and reduce poverty while maintaining the cultural integrity of the recipient communities, as well as preserve the natural ecosystem in the area," Lucks said.
Relevant activities will be undertaken by the combined IFAD and DAR teams to conduct focused group discussions on the project, together with the recipient ARB organizations, partner local government units, agencies, microfinance institutions, private sectors, and other stakeholders involved in the value chain of coffee, cacao and coconut.
DAR Foreign Assisted and Special Projects Office Assistant Secretary Rene Colocar said this activity is in line with the directives of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., through the leadership of DAR Secretary Conrado Estrella III, to improve the livelihood of the ARBs nationwide.
Colocar said the team has identified four towns in the Soccsksargen region to visit for comprehensive data gathering from farmers and stakeholders on how to design the project, molded to the needs of the farmers in the target areas.
The ARC sites to be visited are in Tupi, South Cotabato, Pres. Quirino town in Sultan Kudarat, Maasim town in Sarangani, and Antipas in North Cotabato.
Farmers are expected to increase productivity and income with more government-initiated projects coming their way through DAR. (PNA)