CONSTRUCTION of the state-of-the-art Provincial Agriculture Center (PAC) is set to begin in the municipality of Victoria this month. The 900-square meter, two-story structure will cost over P64-million to build and will partly be powered by solar energy. More than just a modern facility, the PAC is envisioned to become a technology-driven incubation hub for local farmers to add value to their agricultural products.
This establishment is a key outcome of the Climate Resilient and Inclusive Value Chain project of the Global Green Growth Institute Philippines, funded by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). This 4-year, US $5-million (P283-million) project aims to revitalize the province’s micro-enterprises through the upskilling of farmer-entrepreneurs while opening new markets for their products.
On September 7, a groundbreaking ceremony for the Provincial Agriculture Center (PAC) was held at the municipality of Victoria at the site where the modern agricultural building is set to be built.
In attendance at the ceremony were provincial government officials led by Governor Humerlito “Bonz” Dolor. Dolor emphasized the importance of supporting the agriculture sector in the country, aligned with the key agenda of the new PBBM administration.
GGGI’s Deputy Director General Helena McLeod also highlighted the need to finance the modernization of agricultural facilities to increase their climate adaptive capacity and diversify crop portfolio to better address the adverse effects of climate change.
GGGI Deputy Director General Helena McLeod
“Providing targeted technical assistance in digitizing farm data and linking remote farming communities to bigger markets in the Philippines and abroad are innovative and transformational aspects of this project,” McLeod added.
More than nine thousand agricultural workers in low-income rural communities in Oriental Mindoro are expected to directly benefit from the establishment of the PAC and the investment in the province’s micro-enterprises.
“Oriental Mindoro is one of the major food baskets in the country, that’s why we see an opportunity to tap its potential to implement our strategy via this project, designed to provide value chain-wide support for the benefit of smallholder farmers, especially in rural and poor areas,” said Eunsub Kim, Country Director of KOICA.
While the province’s rich and arable land is suitable for agriculture, its potential for further driving economic growth is hampered by vulnerabilities to climate change. Typhoons and flooding cause yearly damage to farmers’ agricultural facilities which are often made of low-grade, light materials. The PAC will be an FDA-certified building equipped with cold-chain facilities to better address climate vulnerability issues.
“The PAC will also be a game changer for the provincial agricultural value chain expansion as it is designed to provide incubation, tolling and aggregation services which will enable smallholder farmers to process their raw produce and be introduced to the larger market as agri-entrepreneurs,” said Juhern Kim, GGGI Philippines Country Representative added.
GGGI Philippines Country Representative Juhern Kim
GGGI is a trusted development partner and advisor to governments, utilizing its expertise in green growth planning and policy advisory, green investment mobilization and capacity development to promote climate-resilience and green growth in the Philippines. GGGI’s development model includes technical assistance, technology transfer and capacity development activities in order to equip government and non-government stakeholders as well as beneficiaries to maximize project implementation and impact.
Meanwhile, another P30-million construction project will kick-off later this year for 4 micro, small and medium enterprise facilities in the municipalities of Bulalacao, San Teodoro, Gloria and Victoria. Each facility will be equipped with food processing machines to turn the province’s major fruit crops such as calamansi, banana and coconut and other farmed crops like seaweed into high-value processed food products. Soon, their export-quality organic fruit juices and fruit chips and gluten-free kelp noodles made from seaweed would have a competitive edge in the US $100-billion global health and wellness food market.
Image credits: GGGI