Signing of the Memorandum of Agreement for the Php 250,000 seed money loan grantedby the Ayala Multi-purpose Cooperative (AMPC) toAsosasyon ng mga Magsasaka at Mangingisda ng Munisipyo ng El Nido, Palawan, Inc. (AMMMEPI). (L-R) Dr. Louella Rowena Lorenzana, Regional Technical Director for Research and Regulations, DA-MIMAROPA (signs as witness); Lourdes Orosa, General Manager, AMPC; Bobby Belinario, President, AMMEPI; Virginia Balderas , Mun. Agriculture Officer, El Nido, Palawan (signs as witness); and Chiara Cruza, General Manager, Ayala Foundation, Inc. (signs as witness).###Denice Joelle Benosa, RAFIS, DA-MIMAROPA
To revive the agriculture industry in El Nido, Palawan, Department of Agriculture-MIMAROPA (DA-MIMAROPA) and the Ayala Foundation, Inc. (AFI) formed a project inspired by DA's Corporate Rice Farming Program (CRFP) spearheaded by Atty. Francisco Villano, Jr., DA Undersecretary for Admin and Finance.
This program aims to link the local farmers’ associations with institutional buyers, and address difficulties in marketing and selling their produce, which is among the main reasons why agriculture declines in such area.
With the help of the Ayala Foundation, a local farmers group named Asosasyon ng mga Mangingisda at Magsasaka ng Munisipyo ng El Nido, Palawan, Inc. (AMMMEPI) was linked with Ayala Group of Businesses (AGB) to be the buyer of their fresh assorted vegetables (ampalaya, squash, okra, eggplant, string beans).
Furthermore, the Ayala Multi-purpose Cooperative (AMPC) provided additional support through lending them a seed money amounting to P250,000 payable within 2 years with 1% interest per annum. The fund was formally handed over to the Association coinciding with the MOA signing for the soft loan at the El Nido Legislative Building on November 12.
“Gusto namin kayong tulungan pero kailangan ay tulungan rin niyo ang inyong mga sarili. Kaya, we call this working capital loan (seed money), meron pa rin kayong babayaran para lalo kayong magsumikap…Very soon baka kayo na ang magsu-supply ng gulay sa lahat ng mga hotel at resort ng Ayala basta ang importante ay ang quality ng gulay ninyo, ”Ms. Lourdes Orosa, General Manager of AMPC explained during the event. (We want to help you buy you also need to help yourself. That is why we call this working capital loan (seed money), you still need to pay so that you will strive harder…Very soon, maybe, your association will be supplying the vegetables to all Ayala’s hotel and restaurants. But, the most important is the quality of your produce.)
In return, the AMMMEPI will quarterly pay the AMPC for 2 years and make sure the project will be efficiently implemented. They also need to provide a quarterly report related to project implementation.
Bobby Belinario (right), AMMMEPI President, receives the check for the Php 250,000 soft loan from Lourdes Orosa, AMPC Gen. Mgr (center). Also in the picture is Atty. Francisco Villano, Jr., DA Undersecretary for Admin and Finance.###Denice Joelle Benosa, RAFIS, DA-MIMAROPA
While DA-MIMAROPA under the High-Value Crops Development Program (DA-HVCDP) in partnership with the Institutional Development Section conducted a Harvest Festival at a farm owned by Richard Roxas, member of the AMMPEI, in Bgy. Pag-asa, El Nido, Palawan on November 12 before the MOA signing. This is to help showcase the Association's produce to the Ayala Group.
The vegetable seeds used were among the interventions given by the DA-HVCDP to the association. Aside from that, they also received a working capital worth Php 250, 000; 25 sets of garden tools; 6 units of knapsack sprayer; 120 vegetable crates, 29 units plastic mulch; and 4 rolls of UV film.
Series of training in Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) were also conducted for the association members to help them produce quality and safe vegetables that pass the standards of high-end businesses like the AGB.
“Sana po ay ipagpatuloy ninyo at paunlarin ang magandang panimula na ito para makatulong hindi lamang sa inyong kabuhayan kundi pati na rin sa karamihan ng mga magsasaka sa El Nido. Kasi after ditto, kami po ay meron ulit binubuo na ganitong proyekto sa ibang lugar katulad sa Puerto Princesa City at Puerto Galera (Oriental Mindoro),” RTD Louella Rowena Lorenzana said to the farmers as she gave her message during the MOA signing. (I hope you will continue this wonderful beginning and make it successful for your livelihood as well as for other farmers in El Nido. Because after this, we are going to start this kind of project in Puerto Princesa City and Puerto Galera (Oriental Mindoro.))
In line with this project, the association was also given the full responsibility to handle the El Nido Food Terminal---a project of the DA in partnership with the Municipal Local Government Unit (MLGU) established in 2013.
DA-MIMAROPA, Ayala Group and members of AMMMEPI shows their harvest a the Harvest Festival in Bgy. Pag-asa, El Nido, Palawan. ###Denice Joelle Benosa, RAFIS, DA-MIMAROPA
The MLGU also showered them with support by handing Pump Irrigation System Open Source (PISOS) to all the 25 members of the association and also promised additional assistance for them and to other farmers of El Nido.
“Itong mga tulong na ito ay hindi po para sa kanila kundi para sa atin (mga farmers) po yan kaya pagbutihin natin at huwag natin sirain ang binigay na tiwala sa atin. Umasa po kayo (DA, MLGU and Ayala) na baka nga po sa isang taon bumaha na po ng gulay diyan sa food terminal,” Bobby Belinario, AMMMEPI President, promised as he thanked DA, Ayala Group, and LGU for all the support that has been given to them. (All of these help are not for them but for all of us (farmers) that is why we need to work hard for this and not ruin their trust. (To DA, MLGU, and Ayala) expect that maybe after a year you may see that the food terminal will be flooding with vegetables.)
To date, this is the second partnership between Ayala Group and a local farmer association in Palawan with the help of the DA. The first was with the Palawan ARC Cooperative Federation under DA’s CRFP.
AMMMEPI farmer members, DA-MIMAROPA, Ayala Group and LGU of El Nido pose for a photo opportunity after the MOA Signing and turn over of agricultural interventions at the El Nido Legislative Building.###Denice Joelle Benosa, RAFIS, DA-MIMAROPA