EL NIDO, PALAWAN-The Corporate Rice Farming Program (CRFP) is a program of the Department of Agriculture that aims to connect farmers to institutional buyers. Under this program, Farm Service Providers (FSP) or farmer’s cooperatives enter an agreement with Institutional buyers for the latter’s rice requirements.

In February 2017, Ayala Corporation Chairman and CEO, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, along with Ayala Foundation President,  Ruel Maranan, visited Department of Agriculture (DA) Secreatry Emmanuel “Manny” F. Piñol. In that meeting, Ayala confirmed its support to the program by engaging the Ayala group of companies.

In Palawan, the participating Rice Processing Center funded by the Department of Agriculture MIMAROPA is the Palawan ARC Cooperative Federation (PARCOFED) based in Narra, Palawan (South of Puerto Princesa City). On the other hand, in the Ayala group of companies the Ayala Multi-Purpose Cooperative is taking the lead in Ayala’s effort to support the CRFP by financing the PARCOFED to supply rice to the Ten Knots Phils., the group of hotels owned by the Ayala.

Mr. Javier Hernandez of Top Knots Phils, on his message said, “We really take pride in really making opportunities for the people that are from the community. I am glad to hear that now we can get our rice for our resorts also from Palawan. I know that it's coming from far away but it is better that it came from Palawan than anywhere else in the Philippines. Let us continue to promote what we have, the beauty that we have in Palawan and hope to make many many more projects with the Department of Agriculture, with the Ayala Foundations and see how else we can help the community and the life of Palawaños."

"The Coop is really very pleased that starting from a small seed in Iloilo we are now moving on towards a bigger group, a bigger engagement and partnership with the department of agriculture. In behalf of the coop we just like to ensure you that, you will always have our cooperation and in every which way that we can be of help we are there for the community and most especially in nation building. Thank you DA, thank you Ayala land for making it possible here in Palawan.” According to Ms. Lourdes Orosa of Ayala Multi-Purpose Cooperative.

Lastly, Mr. Raymundo Imaysay of PARCOFED shared his gratitude to the Department and Ayala Corporation as he said, “Nagsimula kami sa seeds, abono, processing at makinarya galing DA. At ngayon po, ay maging sa marketing ay tinutulungan nila kami. Bilang magsasaka, kami po ay lubos na nagpapasalamat sa ating Department of Agriculture dahil sa kanilang patuloy na suporta sa aming mga magsasaka. At ngayon po, kasama ang Ayala Coop at Ayala Corporation ay nagpapasalamat din po kami dahil po sa pagtitiwala nila sa amin. Ito pong gagawing MOA Signing ay ito po ay simula para sa paglago na kaming magsasaka ay umunlad sa aming buhay, sa aming production na kung saan ay ito ang simula upang kami ay hindi lamang magsaka kundi kami din ay maging negosyante."

IMG 0279After the MOA Signing. (L-R) Dr. Louella Rowena Lorenzana, USEC Francisco Villano, Jr., Mr. Raymundo Imaysay, Ms. Lourdes Orosa, Mr. Javier Hernandez, Mr. Marc Cerqueda, Ms. Joanna Duarte and Mr. Ruel Maranan.

To formalize the partnership between the DA and the Ayala Group of Companies a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signing was held on September 21, 2017 at Lio Tourism Estate, El Nido, Palawan. A MOA signing between Ayala Coop, PARCOFED and Ten Knots Phil. also happened.

Among the signatories and witnesses wereDr. Louella Rowena J. Lorenzana, OIC-Regional Executive Director of DA-MIMAROPA, USEC Francisco M. Villano, Jr. of the Department of Agriculture, Mr. Raymundo Imaysay, Chairman of the PARCOFED, Ms. Lourdes B. Orosa, Gen. Manager of the Ayala Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Mr. Javier D. Hernandez, President of the Ten Knots Philippines, Inc., Mr. Marc Cerqueda, Director of Operations, Ten Knots Philippines Inc., Ms. Joanna Q. Duarte, Senior Director for Programs, Ayala Foundation Inc., and Mr. Ruel T. Maranan, President, Ayala Foundation Inc. Initial agreement is to supply 120 bags monthly to the Ayala Multi-Purpose Cooperative.

At the MOA signing the President of the Mindoro Rice Processing Center (MRPC), Joey Jarin recipient of Rice Processing Center III located in Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro was also present on invitation of DA MIMAROPA. Inspired by the great opportunities envisioned for PARCOFED, Joey Jarin took the initiative of offering the rice produced in MRPC to the Ayala Multi-Purpose Cooperative to cater to the Ayala Hotels accessible from Oriental Mindoro. Samples of Oriental Mindoro rice recently submitted to the Ayala Multi-Purpose Cooperative passed the quality standard. This opens another opportunity for a second RPC partnership with the Ayala group from the DA RFO MIMAROPA.

After the MOA signing, Usec Villano, OIC Dir. Lorenzana, Dir. Bernadette San Juan, Mayor Nieves C. Rosento, MAO Virginia Balderas of El Nido, Palawan and the DA Regional team met the officers of the Federation of Vegetable Growers Association in the municipality. Another activity in the pipeline was formed. We will explore further the partnership with the Ayala Group by using the same corporate farming set-up from rice. The Ayala hotels need 200 kilos of assorted vegetables (pinakbet) on a weekly basis. This is a great opportunity for our farmers in El NIdo to start doing business to a high-end market such as the Ayala group of companies.  Usec Villano emphasized that there is a fair amount of work involved such as setting up of a plan, strategize so that our farmers meet the demand, produce good quality and sustainable vegetables produce.

The DA RFO MIMAROPA will take up this added challenge on vegetable corporate farming.

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