FARMING. Farmers in Tongonan village in Ormoc City harvesting coffee in this undated photo. A joint venture between the government and the Energy Development Corp. (EDC), it is seen to uplift the lives of upland farmers in this city engaged in coffee and cacao farming, said the EDC press statement on Tuesday (July 6, 2021). (Photo courtesy of Energy Development Corp.)

ORMOC CITY, Leyte – A joint venture between the government and the country’s leading geothermal producer will uplift the lives of upland farmers in this city engaged in coffee and cacao farming.

After almost three years of preparation and planning, a 45-hectare coffee and cacao farmstead will be established in the city’s upland village of Tongonan, the Energy Development Corp. (EDC) said in a press statement released late Tuesday.

The initiative seeks to provide livelihood opportunities to the 107 members of Tongonan Farmers Association (ToFA).

“Aside from providing ToFA a steady income through the livelihood, the government and the EDC saw the project as a solution for a dire need for stable supply of coffee and cacao in the province,” said EDC Leyte corporate social responsibility head Erwin Magallanes.

EDC vowed to provide PHP1.5 million worth of contributions to cover the expenses for the renovation of the existing farmhouse owned by the ToFA, plantation expansion, and capacity development programs.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST), in partnership with the city government, will also provide training and technical assistance.

Once the plantation becomes fully operational, a yield of 12,000 kilograms of coffee and cacao beans per year is expected, according to Magallanes.

This venture marks another milestone for EDC and ToFA’s three-decade partnership that was formed in 1989. Their linkage started after a group of farmers agreed to join with the EDC in the protection and reforestation program of the forestland within the geothermal reservation in Ormoc, Leyte.

ToFA president Thina Parco thanked the government and the EDC for this new investment.

“We want to let you know that we will work hard to ensure the success of this project. Someday, we will be able to stand on our own feet and be an inspiration to others that even farmers can succeed and help others,” Parco said.

EDC’s Leyte geothermal facility has been supplying power to the province of Leyte and the rest of the Visayas regions for almost 40 years.

The company’s around 1,200-megawatt total installed capacity accounts for 62 percent of the country’s generated renewable energy and is responsible for putting EDC and the Philippines on the map as the world’s third-largest geothermal producer. (PNA)