More than 100 farmer-beneficiaries of the USAID’s Protect Wildlife project from the municipalities of Bataraza, Brooke’s Point, and Sofronio Española in southern Palawan have just completed their first ube cropping cycle with a bountiful harvest. They would be selling all their produce to Sunlight Foods Corporation, a Manila-based company which supplies top local food companies with processed ube and fruits for baked goods, ice cream, and other products, through an exclusive marketing agreement.
Previously, the project had facilitated a contract growing scheme between these farming communities and Sunlight Foods. With this agreement, the food company trained the farmers in ube production and provided them with the necessary farming inputs. It also committed to purchase their ube harvest at P15 per kilo, which is higher than the prevailing market price of P10 per kilo.
The Protect Wildlife project, local governments of the said municipalities, and Sunlight Foods, along with Lutheran World Relief and ECLOF Philippines, are supporting livelihoods and enterprises of communities on the foothills of Mount Mantalingahan Protected Landscape. The project and Sunlight Foods helped establish demonstration farms of ube, cassava, vegetables, and other high-value crops. They provided planting materials, tools, and technical training on conservation-based agriculture. Other partners provided the workforce for the farms, while Lutheran World Relief and ECLOF Philippines provided microfinancing services for the farmers. (PWP/ Meg Yandoc)