The Interchurch Organization for Development Co-Operation has supported the Task Force Mapalad-Negros for a decade has provided livelihood and capability grants amounting to P28,215,712.104, Kees de Ruiter, ICCO regional manager for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said Tuesday.
De Ruiter was in Bacolod City for the ICCO’s “Value Chains Development on Fair Economic Development Conversations on Frameworks” with their partners in the Philippines.
He said that TFM-Negros has been one of their important partners since 1994 and is considered the best example of a non-government organization that works in various angles.
“TFM help farmers in getting access to land and they also help in providing livelihood assistance to farmer-beneficiaries through land production,” de Ruiter said.
He added that such combination of programs is important for ICCO since they help those people at the grassroots level, especially the poorest in the rural areas.
Gov. Alfredo Marañon, Jr. also lobbied for organic agriculture in the province with the small farmers as the primary stakeholders and said that the way of the future is organic farming.
He said ICCO and the provincial government have the same purpose, program, vision, and the same way of doing things in providing livelihood programs to alleviate poverty and address the issue of food security.
The governor also expressed interest in partnering with ICCO, adding that the provincial government can work with them to lessen the gap between the rich and the poor.
“I am happy that the governor is here and he expressed the possibilities of partnership with us because with those kinds of programs, the role of the government is very important,” de Ruiter said.
However, he added that they do not work directly with the government since their mandate is to work with the local NGOs.
“But I think we can work together here. They do their share and we our share as well,” he also said.
De Ruiter added that it is important to lobby with the government institutions to give access to land to the poorest farmers and said that is very important to their agenda, and TFM is doing that.
ICCO is a donor organization from the Netherlands and is working with the Dutch government in supporting the poorest people in rural areas to improve their lives.
They also provide grants and loans to their partners and provide investment opportunities to local NGOs in the country.*LTG