The Project ConVERGE highlighted next steps to be taken to further improve the value chain enterprises of its beneficiary clusters prior to project closing. These relevant findings and recommendations were made during the Implementation Support Mission (ISM) with IFAD’s consultants and project management last April 25 – May 2, 2022.

OIC-National Project Director Merlita Capinpuyan pointed out how the first ISM of the year was a stepping stone to guide the team in fully turning over all provisions to the ARBOs and their respective enterprises. “With the project being on its last months of implementation, having this mission will serve as guidance for everyone to identify what needs to be improved,” she said.

The project had overall surpassed its outreach, with 106% of the total target of around 60 thousand households as of March 31, 2022. This was an 11% increase from the 95% achieved last 2021.

Ways forward were discussed after the progress reports, assessments of project progress and focused group discussions in the clusters visited considering the upcoming closing of Project ConVERGE in December 2022.

Results showed that the Value Chain Enterprises have to revisit and adjust sustainability plans with improved analytical framework, and identify priority interventions and activities to improve VCE operations. Meanwhile, the project has to be prudent in financial management and prioritize project activities that would directly result towards achievement of outcomes. ARBO assessments and monitoring tools were to be prepared and installed in the ARBO level within the year. Lastly, case studies should be finalized to harvest lessons and generate policy recommendations relevant to DAR and other government agencies mandated to support the development of inclusive agricultural value chains in the artisanal sector.

IFAD’s Value Chain consultant Ronald Chua commended Region 9 for their project progress, specifically their value chain and sustainability progress, and encouraging the team for a continuous job well done.

RD Madroñal expressed his appreciation to the entire IFAD and CPMO team who provided their insights and recommendations throughout the week-long activity. “The Region 9 team will ensure that the agreements made during our thematic meetings will be properly analyzed and executed. As the project draw to a close, we hope we could provide everything that we can to our beneficiaries with these activities,” he said.

The week-long activity consisted of presentation of project updates, field visits, and turnovers in the provinces of Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga del Sur. The participants from IFAD and central office assigned to the Region were IFAD’s Value Chain Consultant Ronald Chua, Central Office Consultants Ms. Marga Flores and Mr. Ed Agac-ac.

This year’s ISM was spearheaded by the central and regional offices from Regions 9, 10, and CARAGA. Present in the project-wide activity were IFAD team’s Jing Pacturan, Yolando Arban, Ronald Chua, and Julie Roa. CPMO was headed by OIC-NPD Capinpuyan, Project Manager Gomer Tumbali and central office consultants and staff.

Assistant Regional Director Agnes Maata and provincial project coordinators and staff were also present in the conduct of field visitations and supplemental thematic meetings and assessments.

The project progress presentations by the CPMO were held in a blended approach via face-to-face and Zoom, which also served as a starting point for briefing the consultants of the upcoming activities that were to commence in the next days of that week.

By: Jullienne Veronica Tuazon, Katrin Anne Arcala

RD Madroñal and CPMO Consultant Marga Flores during the exhibition of rubber tapping in TIMARBENCO

PM Gomer Tumbali taking a shot at rubber tapping

RD Madroñal and PM Gomer witnessing TIMARBENCO tappers