Citi Philippines together with Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation Inc. (GK) recently held a harvest festival at the GK Pueblo Antonio Village in Catigan, Davao City. Over 100 GK beneficiaries, including GK workers, local corporate partners, local government officials and Citi volunteers celebrated the harvest of the community’s yam (ube) crops that will serve as a source of sustainable livelihood for the GK community.
The yam harvest marks the culminating activity of Citi Philippines’ support of GK’s BayanAnihan program, which aims to provide GK residents based in rural areas a sustainable source of livelihood through value-chain enterprise development. Funded by Citi Foundation, the Citi-BayanAnihan program in Davao taught commercial farming techniques and the basics of entrepreneurship to 70 beneficiary families. A portion of the harvest yield was then sold to a processing plant that will transform the harvest into inputs for yam flavored ice cream.
“This harvest is a celebration of Citi’s commitment to helping grassroots communities grow through sustainable sources of livelihood. We are pleased to see that through the contributions from Citi Foundation and Citi Philippines, the families in the GK Pueblo Antonio Village will be able to earn livelihood by planting, growing, and selling high value crops for ready buyers and markets. This is truly a “social investment” that we hope will continue to grow and yield returns to the community.” said Sanjiv Vohra, Citi Country Officer for the Philippines.
The harvest was able to fetch over Php100,000 worth of yield for the community, which they will use to invest in additional seedlings that will be planted in four hectares of land adjacent to the Community. Half of the harvest was sold to an ice cream company. In addition, the trained farmers have started to plant other crops.
“This project is all about sustainability. We are encouraging our farmers to reinvest their income into purchasing additional seedlings so that they can continue to increase income. GK staff hand holds them in the beginning, but eventually we hope that they will be able to run and sustain this project on their own,” said Tante Adalla, Commercial Farming Coordinator of GK-BayanAnihan.
Mr. Adalla’s wife, Dr. Candida Adalla was also present at the launch. Dr. Adalla who is the Former Dean of Agriculture at the University of the Philippines – Los Baños and Director of the Department of Agriculture’s Biotechnology Program served as lead consultant on the project. She said: “We are grateful that Citi Foundation and Citi Philippines supported this project, and we hope that their social investment will bring good returns to the community. Based on our measurements, the community, which had no knowledge of farming and business less than a year ago, was able to plant and harvest almost 6 tons of yam which sells for Php18 per kilo in today’s market. Hopefully this will motivate them to grow this project into a full-fledged enterprise.”
In October 2011, Citi employees from Davao spent their Global Community Day with the same community, building farms and planting the Citi-sponsored yam seedlings.
Vohra remarked that the “harvest is also a celebration of Citi Philippines long-standing friendship with GK that started in 2004. Together we have built over 200 houses as well as learning centers and schools across the country. We are both proud and happy to take the next step in GK’s development model with this community – which is building sustainable livelihood.”