08 Sep Aboitiz Group cultivates cacao agribusiness for Bagobo Klata IP folk
Project is Aboitiz’s first ‘integrated CSR’ project in Mindanao
A number of Davao City’s cacao farmers belonging to the Bagobo Klata Indigenous People (IP) group are poised to earn more and reap additional business value, thanks to a recently-forged partnership with the Aboitiz Group.
The Aboitiz Foundation recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Apo Farmers Multi-purpose Cooperative (AFAMULCO) to formally establish a cacao agri-business project that will boost the productivity of cacao farmers in Barangay Wines, Baguio District, Davao City.
This MOA was signed by AFAMULCO Chairman Lyndon Cayog and Maribeth L. Marasigan, Aboitiz Foundation First Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Also present were AFAMULCO board members and representatives of Barangay Wines, the National Commission for Indigenous People, and Aboitiz business units Davao Light and Apo Agua.
AFAMULCO farmer-members are mainly cacao and fruit farmers who earn by selling their fresh harvest to the local market. With the agreement, they will now effectively participate in the cacao value chain of the Davao Region through the strengthening of their organization, training on correct cacao farming methodologies, and financing and market linkage support.
The project will also enable AFAMULCO to conduct value-adding activities to increase their production value specifically by fermenting, drying, and processing cacao beans into tablea (chocolate tablets) and other products, generating more income to the farmers.
“Ang among mga damgo natubag na gyud. Dako kaayo ko ug pasalamat niini nga proyekto. Dugay na namo nga mga pangandoy isip usa ka mag-uuma, nga dili na ‘mi mag baligya ug wet beans, gusto namo mag process ug mga tsokolate para ang among mga produkto dili na moadto sa mga trader. Kami na jud ang magdisplay sa among mga tsokolate. Kini nga mga proyekto dili ni panglantaw para lang gyud sa among pamilya, kundi matabangan pud namo ang among kumunidad kay daghan pud dinhi sa among kumunidad nga walay trabaho, (Our dreams have come true. We are very thankful for this project. It has been our dream as farmers that we will no longer just sell wet cacao beans to traders. We want to process our own chocolates and to display our own products. This project will not only help our families but also the community, as many of us in our community have no work or are underemployed.)” Cayog said.
The Aboitiz Foundation implements the Integrated CSR (iCSR) strategy, which transitions the Aboitiz Group’s CSR toward a collective approach to achieve a more sustainable and inclusive impact. This highlights the cooperation of various BUs in an area or region and operationalizes Aboitiz regional councils in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
“Our transition to the iCSR strategy will enable us to maximize resources, expertise, and technologies towards a common agenda, and promote a meaningful collaboration among various Aboitiz business units in various regions,” Marasigan said.
Recognizing agricultural productivity as a potent solution to address poverty amid the potential growth of Mindanao’s cacao industry, the Aboitiz Mindanao Regional Council aims to intensify cacao production toward livelihood and job generation in Davao. The cacao agri-business project is the first integrated CSR (iCSR) project of the Aboitiz Mindanao Regional Council and will be implemented through the collective efforts of 10 Aboitiz BUs in Mindanao.