MEDA, with funding from the Government of Canada, is implementing a five-year project in the cacao sector of the Philippines.
To strengthen the cacao sector through investment and create more sustainable livelihoods for Mindanao women and men farmers and businesspeople.
The project will support 25,000 women and men smallholder farmers and their households, agribusinesses, cooperatives, and public institutions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted poverty levels in the Philippines, as household incomes declined and the economy shrunk. For the Mindanao region, which has the highest poverty rate in the country, the impact of the pandemic has only made things worse. In the cacao sector, in which the Mindanao region produces 80% of the crop on small farms, a lack of investment and skills within the sector means production remains low, particularly among farms, SMEs, and co-operatives led by women.
In response, the Government of the Philippines launched its “Plant Plant Plant Program” and the 2022 Cacao Challenge. These programs aim to support the recovery of farmers and agricultural enterprises from the impacts of the pandemic and develop the lucrative cacao crop.
There are ample opportunities to build and strengthen the cacao sector. With rising global demand for cacao, the dominant role that SHFs, especially women farmers, play in producing cacao in the Philippines, and strong government support, investing in this sector can strengthen inclusive and sustainable cacao markets. As a result, women and men SHFs can increase and improve their incomes and livelihoods.
The RIISA project is using the following strategies:
The estimated project reach includes: