DAVAO CITY – The Department of Trade and Industry in Davao Region (DTI-11) has poured over PHP1.5 million for the Matching Grant Agreement (MGA) under the agency's Rural Agro-Industrial Partnership for Inclusive Development and Growth (RAPID Growth) project in the region.

DTI-11 Director Maria Belenda Ambi said Tuesday the agency will invest in the construction of a mechanical dryer and various business development support for the Biao Agrarian Beneficiaries Cooperative (BARBCO) of Purok Manga, Barangay Talandang in Davao City.

Ambi said the initiative is expected to benefit three cooperatives and hundreds of farmers in the area.

"The interventions are designed to improve the association’s efficiency and capacity in trading dried fermented cacao beans (DFCB) as well as in the production of cacao products. These are expected to improve its business profitability and sustainability," she said.

Meanwhile, the DTI-11 said that 262 smallholder cacao farmers of the Southern Davao Multi-Purpose Cooperative (SDMC) and UNICARBAI Multi-Purpose Cooperative (UMPC) of Barangay Basiawan, Sta. Maria, Davao Occidental, will also indirectly benefit from government support.

"This could result in better buying prices of DFCB as the latter upscales its business operations," DA-11 said in a separate statement.

Ambi said the project will provide farm implements, seedlings for cacao farm expansion, tools for rehabilitation areas, and various capacity-building interventions.  

Ambi, who also sits as the national director of the RAPID Growth Project, said the total project intervention cost for UMPC and SMDC is pegged at PHP3,832,200.

The UMDC is set to receive PHP1,950,000, while SMDC will get PHP1,882,200 as project support funds. (PNA)