CACAO farmer members of the Bagobo Klata Indigenous People (IP) group are poised to soon participate in the cacao value chain of the Davao Region following the establishment of a cacao agri-business project that will boost their productivity.
The Aboitiz Group, through its social development arm Aboitiz Foundation, signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Apo Farmers Multi-purpose Cooperative (Afamulco) in Barangay Wines, Baguio District, Davao City to educate the farmers on correct cacao farming methodologies and provide linkage to market and financing.
Afamulco farmer-members are mainly cacao and fruit farmers who earn by selling their fresh harvest to the local market. If successful, the project will enable them to earn more and reap additional production value by learning how to ferment, dry, and process cacao beans into tablea (chocolate tablets) and other products.
“Ang among mga damgo natubag na gyud. Dako kaayo ko ug pasalamat niini nga proyekto. Dugay na namo nga mga pangandoy isip usa ka mag-uuma, nga dili na ‘mi mag baligya ug wet beans, gusto namo mag process ug mga tsokolate para ang among mga produkto dili na moadto sa mga trader. Kami na jud ang magdisplay sa among mga tsokolate. Kini nga mga proyekto dili ni panglantaw para lang gyud sa among pamilya, kundi matabangan pud namo ang among kumunidad kay daghan pud dinhi sa among kumunidad nga walay trabaho, (Our dreams have come true. (We are very thankful for this project. It has been our dream as farmers that we will no longer just sell wet cacao beans to traders. We want to process our own chocolates and to display our own products. This project will not only help our families but also the community, as many of us in our community have no work or are underemployed.)” said Afamulco Chairman Lyndon Cayog.
This MOA was signed by Cayog and Maribeth L. Marasigan, Aboitiz Foundation first vice president and chief operating officer.
Also present were Afamulco board members and representatives of Barangay Wines, the National Commission for Indigenous People, and Aboitiz business units Davao Light and Apo Agua.
The Aboitiz Foundation implements the Integrated CSR (iCSR) strategy, which transitions the Aboitiz Group's CSR toward a collective approach to achieve a more sustainable and inclusive impact. This highlights the cooperation of various BUs in an area or region and operationalizes Aboitiz regional councils in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
“Our transition to the iCSR strategy will enable us to maximize resources, expertise, and technologies towards a common agenda, and promote a meaningful collaboration among various Aboitiz business units in various regions,” Marasigan said.
Recognizing agricultural productivity as a potent solution to address poverty amid the potential growth of Mindanao’s cacao industry, the Aboitiz Mindanao Regional Council aims to intensify cacao production toward livelihood and job generation in Davao. The cacao agri-business project is the first integrated CSR (iCSR) project of the Aboitiz Mindanao Regional Council and will be implemented by the collective efforts of 10 Aboitiz BUs in Mindanao. (PR)