The Implementation Support Mission for Project Convergence on Value Chain Enhancement for Rural Growth and Empowerment (ConVERGE) visited Regions 9, 10 and Caraga last June 18 to July 3, 2017.

The team from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the project’s co-funding institution was composed of Country Programme Officer Jerry Pacturan, Special Advisor Yolando Arban and Management Consultant Gomer Tumbali.

The team was met by National Project Director Faisar Mambuay and Directors Engr. Felix Aguhob of Caraga Region and Julita Ragandang of Region 9 together with project staffs in a Kick-Off Meeting in Cagayan de Oro City last June 19, 2017.

According to Mambuay, the implementation support mission is a regular activity undertaken by the funding donor. “This is to ensure that the project is achieving its purpose,” he added.

The mission visited various project sites including the rubber areas in Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga del Norte of Region 9 and the coconet and abaca ventures in Surigao del Norte and Agusan del Norte respectively in Region 13.

During the site visits, the team conducted dialogues not only with the project beneficiaries but also with various key players of the project including possible business partners.

“The mission is a welcome opportunity for us to understand the project better,” said Leonila Mila, manager of the San Isidro Upland Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (SIUFMULCO) in Jabonga, Agusan del Norte.

Mila added that during the mission, the cooperative gained insights how to make the existing ventures better.

Project ConVERGE will support eleven projects in the agrarian reform community clusters to be viably competitive in the market. These include value-chain ventures in rice, coco-sugar, coffee, abaca, and rubber.