People’s Participation Towards Self-Sufficiency Through Agribusiness Development In OceanaGold Mining Communities


Implemented between July 2017 and January 2019, the Didipio Community Agribusiness Development Project aimed to facilitate people’s participation and build capacities towards the establishment of community enterprises sensitive to the local environment and culture within the community surrounding an OceanaGold mine. With a total budget of US$70,000, the project was designed with OceanaGold as a corporate social responsibility initiative aimed at offset any negative effects brought about by the mine by building up surrounding farming families of Didipio to be self-sufficient, championing the Grameen social business goal of community enterprise development to address social concerns. Didipio is an Ifugao community who are traditionally hard-working and industrious farmers. Through mining activities, OceanaGold was perceived as an exploiter of Didipio’s natural wealth, so through this project, OceanaGold was proactive in giving back to the local community to empower the local farmers to recognise the potential of their own resources and nurture their productive potential not as project beneficiaries, but as partners in project implementation

Community assessment

In partnership with Grameen Australia Philippines (GAP), the project used participatory methodologies to assess the potentials of local resources, farmers’ understanding and knowledge gaps, and recommend appropriate sustainable livelihood options to build the local community’s capacity to establish sustainable community-based enterprises that utilise local resources towards sustained income generation. After thorough community assessment, consultation, and participatory planning, the project initiated a series of training-cum-production activities that built farmers’ capacities and established pilot farms for organic vegetable growing and production of native pigs, free-range chickens, and mushrooms. Farmers were equipped with the skills and resources to establish their enterprises as income-generating businesses. With GAP’s community-based sustainable enterprise development framework, the Didipio Producers Coop (DIPCO) and Didipio Indigenous People’s Coop (DIPCC) incubated organic vegetable production, product processing, and marketing.

CSR Project impact

As a result of the project, 60% of the target marginalised sector was mobilised to participate in various project activities. 40 farmers were trained and upskilled in organic vegetable growing and agribusiness setup, 8 organic vegetable farms, 10 free-range chicken farms, 8 native pig farms, and a Coop-managed mushroom farm were established as well as two additional cooperative-managed agribusinesses.

For organic vegetable farmers, as a result of training and changes in farming towards sustainable agriculture practices, farmers enjoyed increased production and saw harvest yields increase by over 500% from 24kg to 149kg of harvested vegetables. This meant farmers were able to go from only producing enough for personal consumption to being able to sell vegetables at the market for an income of around AU$1,300 over four cropping cycles. In addition, organic farming practices meant that soil quality was maintained, meaning farming became sustainable. Similarly for mushroom growing, improved practices, coop management, and an agribusiness mindset increased gross sales from an average of AU$20 per month during the initial trial period to an average of AU$165 per month during commercial operation. This uplifted the mushroom growing from a small scale to a viable, income-generating agribusiness.

Final words

The Didipio Community Agribusiness Development project achieved its goal of establishing community-based enterprises utilising local resources and resulted in a significant increase in income for farmers and cooperatives. Through innovative implementation strategies, active people’s participation was generated, farmers were appropriately capacitated, and Didipio’s agricultural potential was realised to bring progressive impact to OceanaGold’s community outreach programs. Other mining communities have recognised the impact of the Didipio project and requests for similar livelihood projects have been made. As such, Dana Asia is now actively seeking partners with aligned corporate social responsibility remits to replicate this successful project in new communities.

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