The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) signed Tuesday a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Nestlé Philippines, Inc. that will integrate the latter’s coffee project to the PHP4.78-billion Rural Agro-enterprise Partnership for Inclusive Development and Growth (RAPID Growth) project.
Through the MoU forged between DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez and Nestlé Philippines chairman and chief executive officer Kais Marzouki, the company can integrate its Project Coffee+ under the Nescafe Plan with the RAPID Growth project.
Nestlé Philippines launched the Project Coffee+ three years ago in Sultan Kudarat and Bukidnon benefitting 1,500 farmers.
Marzouki said farmers were able to double their yields and triple their income through the Project Coffee+.
The MoU will also commence the commercial partnership agreement between Nestlé Philippines and coffee farmers’ organizations under the RAPID Growth project.
The DTI’s RAPID Growth project, with International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) as its funding partner, targets to boost agro-enterprise development in seven regions and 21 provinces in the country through developing four focused sectors –coffee, cacao, coconut, and processed fruit and nuts.
“The project will not only benefit our key sectors for DTI, the MSMEs (micro, small, and medium enterprises) sector, but this is really involving right from the production side –the farmers, which to me is a very important sector for the economy, the rural-based sector. This is really the sector we have to address if we are to address poverty,” Lopez said in the virtual signing ceremony.
He also lauded the involvement of Nestlé Philippines in the RAPID Growth project, noting that market support will trigger farmers to produce more.
RAPID Growth project director Edwin Banquerigo said the project aims to generate 31,000 direct jobs, particularly in rural areas, and over 155,000 indirect jobs.
It also targets to increase the income of 78,000 households by 60 percent, and double the income of 1,050 MSMEs.
Among the seven regions and 21 provinces identified under the RAPID Growth project are Northern Samar, Leyte, and Southern Leyte in Region 8; Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, and Zamboanga del Sur in Region 9; Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon, and Lanao del Norte in Region 10; Davao de Oro, Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, and Davao Occidental in Region 11; North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and Saranggani in Region 12; Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, and Surigao del Sur in CARAGA Region; and Maguindanao in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. (PNA)