Highlight of the activity is the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together towards the successful implementation of the project. From left: Mr. Gerardo F. Cuadrasal, Jr. , Municipal Administrator of Calape, Bohol representing Hon. Mayor Julius Caesar F. Herrera; Hon. Mayor Diosdado Gementiza, Jr. of San Isidro, Bohol; Christopher Matthew Ilagan of Cargill; David Gazashvili of CARE Philippines and Mr. Brendan P. Trasmonte, Regional Manager III for Region VII, Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA)
Manila, Philippines (September 26, 2022) — Nine months since Super Typhoon Odette (Rai) felled over three million coconut trees in the province of Bohol, Cargill Philippines partners with CARE Philippines, Cebu-Bohol Relief and Rehabilitation Center (CRRC), and the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) to replant 100,000 coconut seedlings in devastated local communities through the RISE Coco (Recovery Intervention for Severely Affected Coconut Farming Communities of Bohol by Super Typhoon Odette) project. More than 10 million coconut trees were damaged in several areas nationwide and gravely affected farming families whose livelihood was dependent on producing copra.
farming families whose livelihood was dependent on producing copra.
The Bohol provincial PCA already pledged to initially replace felled trees with 500,000 dwarf variety seedlings in February. This variety takes three to four years to bear fruit compared to the hybrid variety which takes five years to yield. However, with no other means to provide for their families, farmers are already finding it difficult to bounce back while waiting for harvest. The available coconut seedlings were very limited and were allocated to only a few municipalities. To bridge this gap, coconut farmers supported by this project decided to establish their own community-based seed beds to propagate coconut seedlings for re-planting.
Through the RISE Coco Project, 1,000 coconut farming households in the municipalities of Calape, Catigbian, Loon, and San Isidro will be able to gradually recover and sustain their coconut farming livelihoods. The project focuses on replacing the damaged coconut trees, training the farmers on sustainable agriculture, providing alternative livelihoods while waiting for the coconut trees to bear fruit, and organizing the farmers into cooperatives to have better access to markets and corporate buyers.
The project was officially launched on September 15, 2022, at the Calape Forest Resort and was attended by almost 100 participants from the local government offices, PCA officials, Cargill, CARE, CRRC and farmer leaders in the province. As the first coconut disaster rehabilitation program in the province spearheaded by the private sector, the project is strongly supported by the provincial government of Bohol and the municipal mayors of the four covered municipalities. PCA, including its regional and provincial offices, also expressed commitment to provide technical assistance during the project implementation.
PCA Region 7 Manager Brendan Trasmonte acknowledged the critical and challenging role that the PCA will play in the success of the project as it needs quality seed nuts and seedlings and the technical knowledge of coconut farmers to sustain and expand their sources of income beyond coconut farming.
This project partnership is anchored on a global agreement between Cargill and CARE International to work together to implement programs that would rehabilitate livelihoods impacted by disasters, support recovery and promote food security of affected farming communities.
“It’s our way of supporting the rehabilitation of the livelihoods of the coconut farmers of Bohol severely impacted by the climate-induced Supertyphoon Odette – the same coconut farmers who have been our reliable suppliers of copra over the years which we in turn crush at our General Santos City plant into world-class crude coconut oil,” said Cargill Philippines’ Corporate Affairs Director Christopher Matthew Ilagan.
Cargill’s Copra & Palm Origination Commercial Director, Jonathan Sumpaico added, “Cargill is committed to grow with the communities where we live and work. The RISE Coco program, as part of our broader partnership with CARE Philippines, allows us to put that commitment into action by ensuring the farmers affected by the Supertyphoon produce sustainably grown copra and continue to benefit from responsible economic development as our partners.”
Meanwhile, CARE Philippines Country Director David Gazashvili sees the project as a way to develop the resiliency of coconut farming communities against the drastic effects of climate change.
“Farmers will be trained to increase their capacities to better prepare for disasters alongside local government structures. This implies ensuring the availability of food for their family and community and ability to cope and bounce back through other sources of income and immediate government support”, he said.
The RISE Coco project is led by CARE Philippines and is being implemented with CRRC with active participation from Cargill employees across all project areas.
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Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside women and girls. Equipped with the proper resources women and girls have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. In 2020, CARE worked in over 100 countries, reaching more than 90 million people through 1,300 projects. To learn more, visit www.care.org.