Integrated Rural Development Foundation Announces Launch of Coconut Valorization Project

Published Dec 12, 2019

Digos City, Davao del Sur, December 12, 2019 – Yet another venture is added to the succession of Integrated Rural Development Foundation’s (IRDF) coconut livelihood projects. The NGO announced that another major project designed to promote local economic growth and employment opportunities through the processing of coconut products is being implemented in Davao del Sur and North Cotabato, together with BIOGROW and the Livelihood Ventures. BIOGROW is a company engaged in the production of cocopeat substrate while Livelihood Ventures supports the program Livelihood for Family Farming, which is the current partner of IRDF in promoting livelihood resiliency among 5,000 smallholder coconut famers in these two provinces.

The IRDF is a national NGO established in 1989 with a mandate to implement development programs that will contribute to the social and economic empowerment of marginalized and vulnerable sectors such as small farmers, fisherfolks, indigenous peoples, women and youth.

Partnered with Vila Sarl and Livelihood Ventures, the IRDF strives to continue in improving marginalized people’s livelihoods especially in coconut-farming communities of Mindanao.

Vila Sarl is a company belonging to French fruit and vegetable growers in the south of France – the origin of the brand BIOGROW which is the top producer of ecological cocopeat substrates. Meanwhile, Livelihoods Ventures is a social business based in Paris which is composed of a team of specialists who work closely with companies and partners to identify scalable solutions, co-design agronomic models, and monitor ongoing projects.

Under the sponsorship of the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) Market Development Partnerships (DMDP) program, the project “Promoting Inclusive Economic Growth Through Valorization of Coconut Husks” aims to create viable and sustainable jobs and improved income for 3,000 farmers and 1,156 women through a business partnership between coconut smallholder farmers and Biogrow. Such partnership will contribute to developing the local cocopeat and cocofiber industry and lead to building capacities of local cooperatives to engage in the business.

The DMDP promotes commercially oriented partnerships that contribute to market development and promote local economic growth and employment in developing countries. DMDP projects must support local development and contribute to promoting Sustainable Development Goal No. 8. This project contributes to the achievement of SDG 8 through the diversification of livelihoods of 3,000 coconut farmers, creation of coconut chips and crushing mills and the setting up of 5 women livelihood centers engaged in cocofiber making and other livelihood ventures. Thus, it is aligned in promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

According to IRDF President Rene Ofreneo, “by inclusively empowering 3,000 households with additional income opportunities and increased capacity on husk processing, the IRDF, Sarl Vila, and Livelihoods Venture aim to provide inclusive economic opportunities for poor farmers, farm workers, and community members”. This way, they can increase their income, set-up viable community businesses, and promote a more socially-inclusive economic growth in poor coconut-dependent communities in Mindanao.

BIOGROW Company Manager Clement Jacquot, meanwhile expressed the company’s commitment to pursue their investment in the local cocopeat industry and set up together with IRDF a local training center to enhance the skills of young people and farmers in the operation and management of equipments necessary for the production and drying of cocopeat and cocofiber.