Jan. 12, Manila, Philippines – The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s Minister of International Development, visited MEDA-supported tree-to-bar chocolate enterprise Auro Chocolate in the Philippines today to see how the enterprise is promoting both sustainability and job creation by working directly with local farmers. Auro is one of the small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) supported by the Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and MEDA-funded project on Resilience and Inclusion through Investment for Sustainable Agrikultura (RIISA) to become an engine of growth in the country’s cocoa value chain.
Canada’s support for the cocoa value chain in the Philippines aligns with key objectives under its Indo-Pacific Strategy in the region. The RIISA project works directly with 5,400 farmers and more than 30,000 household farms, SME employees, and cooperative members to mobilize capital, support improvements in financial products and business services, strengthen resilience capacities, and improve sustainable and inclusive practices in the cocoa industry.
Through these efforts, RIISA is encouraging the preservation of biodiversity and supporting climate adaptation. It further works with women and youth to support their inclusion in farming as the Philippines faces the challenge of an aging farming population. These initiatives will support improved sustainability and job creation in the region, empowering youth and women economically and preserving vulnerable ecosystems in Mindanao, Philippines.
Mindanao produces 80 percent of the country’s cocoa and 40 percent of its food requirements. It is also home to a quarter of the Philippines’ population and has faced a decade of civil conflict. By supporting enterprises like Auro in this critical value chain, Canada and MEDA are working together to foster inclusivity, resilience, sustainability, and lasting peace in the region.