Upland farmers get P100M for entrepreneurship projects

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By Nikka Garriga

QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA–The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has allotted some P100 million to help selected upland people’s organizations (POs) start up their own businesses.

The project will focus on environment and natural resources type of businesses which participants in the agency’s Community-Based Forest Management (CBFM) program can avail.

Those who qualify can be granted assistance of up to P1 million.

“The government vision is to see our people’s organizations developed into entrepreneurs, competent in financial management as well as in marketing strategies,” Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said.

Potential recipients of the grant must be registered to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) or the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

The potential recipient must also have an efficient record system that indicates the group’s assets and liabilities, including business transaction as well as the tangible benefits it has provided its member communities.

Those who have shown potentials in improving or developing CBFM areas in terms of vegetation growth and implementation of sustainable livelihood practices are likewise preferred.

The DENR and its Forest Management Bureau (FMB) earlier launched the Guidebook on Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) Development and Management, a step-by-step guide in setting up, managing and sustaining small enterprises that taps resources from upland areas.

It aims to turn farmers into effective entrepreneurs and teach them to responsibly care for forest lands.

“They should realize that the sustainability of their business ventures is hinged on the availability of raw materials so that they need to protect their environment and continue developing their natural resources,” Paje explained.

The FMB is now finalizing the guidelines to help identify organizations that can meet the key indicators to ensure that the funds will be used appropriately.

Local governments who also host and approved Forest Land Use Plan (FLUP) can also help select and recommend which POs can take part in the program.

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