IFAD to pump in $96-M to agri-based MSMEs in Caraga

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BUTUAN CITY — A foreign-funded project that aims to increase the income of small farmers and unemployed rural folks will be implemented this year in three provinces in the Caraga region, an official of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said Friday.

The project, dubbed as Rural Agro Enterprise Partnership for Inclusive Development and Growth (RAPID Growth), will be implemented in the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, and Surigao del Sur, DTI 13 (Caraga) Assistant Director Gay Tidalgo said.

Tidalgo said the project amounts to $96.19 million and will be implemented by DTI-13 in partnership with the funding agency International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

She said the project targets to help 78,000 households increase their income by 60 percent by providing 31,000 direct and 155,000 indirect jobs, and attain a 100 percent increase in sales of 1,050 micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the region.

“The project will directly support five industry clusters in agriculture in the region, to include coffee, coconut, cacao, calamansi, and banana,” Tidalgo said.

She added that the pilot implementation of the RAPID Growth project was done in 2019 and its full implementation will start this year until 2025.

The project embodies five main components — direct assistance to beneficiaries, institutional strengthening, technical assistance, innovation fund, and project management.

Tidalgo said the RAPID Growth project is aligned with the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 and seen to trigger agro enterprise development in the rural areas in Caraga.

Caraga was established as an administrative region in 1994 with P29 billion gross regional domestic product (GRDP), increasing to P100 billion by 2019, data from DTI-13 showed.

Tidalgo said the RAPID Growth Project would help spur agricultural development in the region that will greatly help increase further Caraga’s GRDP in the next 10 years.