Farmers in southern Palawan can now look forward to more harvests of ube or purple yam, thanks to support from USAID’s Protect Wildlife project in bringing in partners and providing further assistance to help sustain their livelihoods.
Last August 3 to 4, eight farmers’ associations met with Institute for the Development of Ecological and Educational Alternatives (IDEAS), a local cooperative that will help farmers strengthen their growing ube enterprise. IDEAS will serve as consolidator of ube produce from farmers’ associations covered by the contract-growing scheme with Manila-based Sunlight Foods Corporation, which had helped the farmers set up their ube farms. Not only will IDEAS ensure proper postharvest grading, packing, tagging and shipping, it will also monitor compliance of ube farms and their produce with quality standards and requirements set by Sunlight Foods.
Building partnerships with IDEAS and Sunlight Foods is part of USAID’s strategy to make sure that ube production and sustainable farming will continue and prosper in rural communities surrounding the Mount Mantalingahan Protected Landscape in southern Palawan.
Aside from connecting these farmers to helpful partners, the project, through the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative, provided them with farm tools to help them improve the quality of their ube harvests and to increase their productivity by diversifying in other crops. Trainings on conservation agriculture, organizational development and enterprise management have been programmed also for these farmers’ associations.
Under the W-GDP Initiative, USAID’s Protect Wildlife project targets to support 27 enterprises with active women members and aims to assist around 5,000 households by strengthening the economic benefits derived from biodiversity conservation and sustainable management of natural resources. W-GDP support for women’s livelihoods includes training on organizational development, procuring processing equipment and post-harvest facilities, strengthening access to credit, and facilitating marketing agreements and networking opportunities. (PWP/ May Anne Ramos)