DTI Launches P4.7-Billion Project to Transform Agri-Based MSMEs for Global Markets
Agriculture-based micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country can expect more support from the government with the launch of the Rural Agro-enterprise Partnership for Inclusive Development and Growth (RAPID Growth) project.
RAPID Growth is a 4.7-billion peso business initiative supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). It seeks to achieve inclusive and sustainable economic development for rural farming communities in the country through partnership with MSMEs.
“RAPID Growth project goes to the heart of what we are doing at DTI: linking farmers and businesses. And by promoting the microenterprises or those in the bottom of the pyramid, we are empowering the nation,” said Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez during the project’s kick off on May 24, 2019, at the World Trade Center.
RAPID Growth will primarily target small farmers and micro-entrepreneurs engaged with four identified value chains which have valuable social features and the potential to provide sustained economic benefits. These are the cocoa, coffee, processed fruits and nuts, and coconut industries. It is set to be initially implemented in 20 target provinces from Regions 8 to 13.
Among the interventions to be implemented are direct assistance to enterprises, including provision of conditional matching grants and partnership/coordination for the rehabilitation of farm-to-market roads; institutional strengthening; technical assistance to financial service providers; innovation fund; and management, monitoring and evaluation.
IFAD Country Director Alessandro Marini said poor families from local communities now have a better chance to increase their income level, improve their social status, and participate in the global value chain since RAPID Growth makes the agri-enterprise ecosystem “more inclusive and competitive.”
Also held at the RAPID Growth launch was the signing of the pledge of commitment by the Project Steering Committee (PSC), composed of leaders and representatives from the government, agricultural, trade, finance, private sector, farmers’ organizations and MSMEs. The PSC, led by the DTI Secretary, will provide overall guidance and oversight to ensure that the RAPID programming is aligned on national sector priorities. The committee held its first meeting on May 23, 2019, at the DTI office in Makati.
“We are excited for this opportunity for our small farmers and MSMEs. Not only do we help them grow, we also empower local communities, including the unemployed and under-employed rural women, youth and indigenous people,” said Foundation for a Sustainable Society Inc. (FSSI) Executive Director Sixto Donato C. Macasaet.
FSSI is among the members of the RAPID Growth PSC. FSSI aims to facilitate social investments that lead to triple bottom lines in terms of economic viability, ecological soundness, and social equity.