The Partnership for Development Assistance in the Philippines Inc (formerly known as Philippine Development Assistance Programme, Inc.), started as a consortium of Filipino and Canadian non-government organizations (NGOs). It was founded in 1986 as a non-stock, non-profit organization, to become an effective instrument in reducing poverty and inequity in the Philippines. PDAP prides itself in having 6 member networks with more than 300 community-based members and partner NGOs. PDAP has distinguished itself in promoting and developing rural enterprises for poverty reduction and as a tool in promoting peace in conflict-affected areas.
Promoting Rural Industries and Market Enhancement Prgram (PRIME)
Building on the achievements and gains of PDAP's previous PPSE and ProPeace program, the CIDA-funded PRIME program will primarily deliver its goal of supporting the development of sustainable small and medium enterprises that create more, better and decent jobs for both men and women through the implementation of 4 major components:
Micro-enterprise Development. This component is intended to support viable rural micro-enterprises(MEs) among rural poor communities aimed at food security, increased household income and jobs creation equitably benefiting men and women.
Enhancing Participation in the Market. Under this component, MEs with industry potentials will be scaled-up and connected with the market through appropriate market-participation mechanisms.
Policy Analysis in Support to Rural Micro-Enterprises/Industries. Industry-specific and gender-equitable policy reform initiatives will be developed and directed towards relevant government agencies (national and local) that regulate and assist rural enterprises/industries.
Strengthened Institutional Capacity of PDAP. PRIME intends to enhance PDAP organizational capacity in support to the development of rural enterprises as well as ensure its long-term institutional sustainability.
PRIME supports the development of organic and natural products to become rural industries such as organic sugar, organic rice and seaweeds.
The organic rice industry in the Philippines is still small and considered in its infancy. From an estimated 95 hectares planted to organic rice in 1997, the area increased to 14,419 hectares in 2003. This represents 0.53% of the total rice areas in the Philippines. There are at least 36,592 organic rice farmers in the country. The organic rice industry is largely production-led, rather than market-oriented. The incentive for organic farming came from the producers’ side, not from the consumers’ demand unlike in developed countries where health consciousness brought organic booms. It is only in recent years that a separate “niche” category has been created for organic rice in the Philippine market. Currently, the two major gaps in organic rice industry are technical support at field level, and marketing at the consumers’ end that are necessary to scale-up organic rice production and to move organic rice industry into the mainstream market.
The choice for farming technology is crucial. Farmers know that any change in their farming system carries concomitant risks, and that support systems must be in place. These support systems include markets, facilities and infrastructure, credit and financing, practical training and information, certification and a supportive social and policy environment. Equitable profit sharing and pricing agreements are also big boosts for farmers. Organic rice farmers should be assured of attractive farm-gate prices. For marketing, business linkage with organic marketing groups is one program that will facilitate effective distribution of farmers’ produce to local consumers, consolidators and possible exporters of organic rice.
The muscovado industry in the Philippines started in the pre-colonial period but was left behind with the introduction of modern technologies. It has again become a “sunrise” industry when the demand of muscovado in the international market picked up because of the increasing healthy lifestyles of the people in Europe, Japan and the United States. The Philippines has been exporting muscovado sugar the Japan, Switzerland, Australia, US and Germany since 1987. Recently, the export market of muscovado is on the upswing. In 2004, the Philippines recorded a sales of US$3,689,869 compared to US$785,784 in 2003.
Like other commodities, the muscovado industry is faced with challenges in production, processing, financing, marketing and institutional support. Production is declining due mainly to expensive production inputs, improper technology, lack of good sugarcane varieties and land conversion. Supply is also erratic as muscovado production is seasonal. Muscovado mills also decreased from 304 in 1997 to 258 mill in 2004 and most of these still use old equipment that are unable to meet domestic and export market standards. Some of the marketing problems identified include low prices, limited access to market, poor packaging, labeling and branding. Despite these challenges, the muscovado industry remains optimistic with the significantly expanding market. PDAP recommended three major shifts to push forward the development of the muscovado industry.
Shift from conventional to muscovado. In order to cater to a niche market, there is a need to increase the production of muscovado and improve the efficiency of mills.
Shift from conventional to organic farming. This shift recommends the increase in production of organic muscovado in order to cater to a growing export market and thereby obtain higher market prices. Farmers will be encouraged towards organic farming.
Shift from traditional to high-end export markets. There is a need to improve international competitiveness and positioning in terms of product quality, packaging, branding and marketing. This will allow producers to gain access to higher market prices.
The Philippines is the leading supplier of Eucheuma seaweed accounting for about 80% of total world supply. Seaweed is largely cultured in Mindanao accounting for about 77% of total output. In 2000, the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao particularly Tawit-awi and Sulu accounted for 53% of the total output followed by Southern Tagalog (23%), and Western Mindanao (17%). For the past ten years, the Philippine seaweed production increased at an average rate of 9.4% annually from 284,000 tons (Php1B) in 1991 to 618,000 tons (Php1.9B) in 2000. It is estimated that 180,000 families are directly dependent on seaweed culture. In 2000, the export value of the seaweed industry is estimated to reach US$130 million.
In a workshop for Sitangkai Seaweed Industry, the key players identified weaknesses and threats of the industry. The stakeholders were one in characterizing the market, the players, and their relationships in the development of the industry. Some of the major challenges are the need to organize local traders, provision of financing to farmers, improvement of product quality and setting of premium price standards. As a support to the seaweed industry, PDAP in collaboration with the Sitangkai Consortium implemented the Sitangkai Seaweed Industry Master Plan Development. The plan is expected to provide strategic interventions for the development of the seaweed industry.
Rural Industry Development and Organic Agriculture towards Poverty Reduction Considering that poverty in the Philippines is located in rural areas, particularly in the agriculture sector, it is thereby imperative for PDAP to implement PRIME in poor rural communities engaged in organic and natural commodities. PRIME will utilize the rural industry approach that will focus on organic and natural products to reduce poverty in rural communities and eventually improve their well-being.
In partnership with key players (e.g., FIs, NGOs, BDS providers, other donors), PDAP shall play a vital role in the development of the 3 organic and natural commodities (i.e., organic rice, muscovado sugar and seaweeds). PRIME will provide Rural Enterprising Communities (RECs) with the necessary financing, technology, entrepreneurial capability and other capacity development interventions so that they can actively participate in the dynamic and fast-growing organic and natural products market, domestically and internationally. PRIME will also work with national government agencies and local government units including multilateral and bilateral agencies to improve public policy and influence the development of programs and allocation of resources that support rural industry development towards poverty reduction.
These interventions which are meant to build the Rural Enterprising Communities capacity and competitiveness to better perform in the market is expected to increase productivity of participating poor rural household thereby creating surplus and incomes to secure their basic food requirements as well as create more and better jobs for the Micro Enterprises (MEs) and industries that will be developed in PRIME.
- Cluster 1 - Bukidnon Organic Rice
- Cluster II - SK/Davao/Cotabato Muscovado
- Cluster III - Davao/maguindanao Organic Rice
- Cluster IV - Cotabato Organic Rice
- Cluster V - Sitangkai Seaweeds
- Cluster VI - Negros Muscovado
- Cluster VII - Antique Muscovado
- Cluster VIII - Negros Organic Rice
- Cluster IX - Batangas Muscovado