ROAD LINK. The Department of Trade and Industry in the Davao Region sees better opportunities for small-scale farmers in Kapalong, Davao del Norte once the ongoing construction of a PHP47.4 million farm-to-market (FMR) road is completed early next year. The FMR, which broke ground on June 20, 2022 has a length of 2.7 kilometers. (Photo courtesy of DTI-11)

DAVAO CITY – The ongoing construction of a PHP47.4 million farm-to-market road (FMR) is seen to improve the lives of small-scale cacao farmers in two remote areas of Kapalong, Davao del Norte.

Director Maria Belenda Ambi of the  Department of Trade and Industry in Davao Region (DTI-11) said 1,670 residents—263 of whom are smallholder cacao farmers—will be provided with more opportunities once the FMR project is completed in March next year.

“The smallholder cacao farmers are also beneficiaries of other initiatives, such as the support for rehabilitation and expansion to increase their cacao production. To make our interventions even more holistic, we are also preparing them for the market, and this FMR will give our farmers access to the market,” Ambi said in an interview Tuesday.

The project runs 2.7 kilometers from New Agno, Mabantao (Purok Sampalok) to Mabuhay (Purok 6A) Capungagan in the municipality of Kapalong.

Ambi said the movement of goods and services within those areas would be easier and faster.

The FMR is the first subproject approved under the DTI’s Rural Agro-Enterprise Partnership for Inclusive Development Growth (RAPID Growth) business development.

Apart from cacao, the production and trading of other crops such as corn, rice, banana, cash crops, and economic activities will also benefit from the FMR, considered to be the major channel of the municipality’s agricultural industry. (PNA)