• UN commits $55M to curb PH poverty

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    The United Nations’ International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has pledged $55 million for two projects geared toward poverty reduction in rural areas in the countryside, the Department of Agriculture (DA) announced on Friday.

    Agriculture Undersecretary Dennis Guerrero said the projects expected to commence by 2016 are the Convergence of Value-Chain Enhancement for Rural Growth and Empowerment (Converge) and Fisheries, Coastal Resources and Livelihood (FishCORAL).
    Converge aims to reduce poverty incidence in 10 of the country’s poorest provinces, as well as to reinforce agricultural innovation in family farming.

    Guerrero said the initiative, which will receive $25 million from IFAD for the next six years starting in 2016, would benefit over 300,000 agrarian reform farmer-beneficiaries (ARBs) in 11 Agrarian Reform Communities (ARCs) in the 10 provinces in Regions 9, 11 and Caraga.

    Converge shall also provide financing for farm inputs, tools, packaging and capacity-building and will also link smallholder farmers to the market in partnership with the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

    Its objective is to enable ARBs and other smallholder farmers to become highly productive
    and competitive entrepreneurs.

    “Family farming will be the basic production units in agriculture,” Guerrero said.

    The FishCORAL project aims to protect the country’s coastal resources by providing livelihood and coastal resource management capabilities to 700,000 inhabitants of 11 bays and gulfs in the Philippines.

    In partnership with the DA’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, FishCORAL covers 14 provinces in Regions 5, 8, 13 and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

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