German international cooperation agency Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, chemical company BASF and food producer Cargill have join forces to launch a program to develop a certified coconut oil supply chain to enhance sustainability and improve the livelihoods of 2,500 smallholder coconut growers in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao.
There are 3.5 million hectares dedicated to coconut production in the Philippines, which accounts for 25 percent of total agricultural land in the country. The Philippines ranks near the top in global coconut production with over 15 billion nuts produced per year. Coconut products contributed almost U.S. $2 billion in export revenues of the Philippines in 2011. Coconut oil is an ingredient used mainly in food products, and its derivatives are also used in the home and personal care industry.
Improve quality and sustainability
The program aims to raise farmers’ incomes by improving productivity and coconut oil quality and to introduce sustainable practices based on the Sustainable Agricultural Network (SAN) standards as a basis for Rainforest Alliance Certification.
Farmers already have started the first phase of Good Agricultural Practices training for coconut production. They will be provided with newly designed coconut dryers to improve the quality of copra and coconut oil.
Access to healthcare program
The project also aims to provide greater healthcare access for coconut farmers to the country’s health insurance program, PhilHealth. So far, 2,500 coconut farmers have enrolled in PhilHealth with a reduced enrolment fee, thus providing new healthcare coverage for an estimated 12,500 to 15,000 Filipinos.
The partnership is co-financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through its program develoPPP.de