Investing in the potential of rural entrepreneurs

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Investing in the potential of rural entrepreneurs

IFAD Associate Vice-President visits project in the Philippines

Rome, 05 May 2018 – Charlotte Salford, Associate Vice-President of External Relations and Governance at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), is in the Philippines this week to visit an IFAD-supported project that is assisting more than 300,000 smallholder farmers, rural youth, indigenous peoples and women to become highly productive and competitive entrepreneurs in agriculture.

“It is exciting to see how much potential there is for family farms and indigenous producers when they are fully engaged in inclusive value chains and have access to markets, technology and financing,” Salford said about her visit to a cooperative in the Agusan del Norte province that is a part of the IFAD-supported Convergence on Value Chain Enhancement for Rural Growth and Empowerment Project (ConVERGE).

Key innovative features of IFAD-supported activities in the Philippines include securing access to land in ancestral domains for indigenous peoples and documenting customary laws and traditional practices.  Projects also incorporate improved techniques for managing soil and water. In addition they provide support for fishing communities in coastal resource management and environmental protection practices.

ConVERGE is a US$52 million project implemented in 10 provinces in Mindanao, where many small farmers live in highly fragile and vulnerable ecosystems. The first agribusiness project in the Philippines to use a value chain approach focused on key commodities with a competitive advantage such as coffee, abaca and rubber,  ConVERGE  is designed to strengthen farmer cooperatives and help participants better meet market demands by improving the quality of production, including through post-harvest management and acquisition of processing facilities. In addition, the project aims to diversify sources of income through enterprise activities in partnership with the private sector.

For her visit to the field, Salford is joined by Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya from the Department of Trade and Industry; Andre Atega, Provincial Director, Department of Agrarian Reform DAR; Brenda Corvera, Provincial Director, Department of Trade and Industry; Wei Wang, IFAD Director for APL and Special Adviser to the President; and Jerry Pacturan, IFAD Country Programme Officer. The delegation will also meet with women entrepreneurs formerly assisted by the IFAD-supported Rural Micro Enterprise Promotion Project and members of the San Isidro Upland Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative. Formerly financed through the  IFAD-supported Northern Mindanao Community Initiatives and Resource Management Project,  the successful cooperative has 278 members with women making up 70 percent of its leadership and financial assets of $600,000.

While in the country, Salford also attended the 51st Annual Meeting of the Asian Development Bank, which is headquartered in Manila.

IFAD has invested in rural people for 40 years, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided about US$19.7 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached some 474 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN’s food and agriculture hub.