Promoting sustainable forestry employment and empowering small-scale forest producers


Negros Occidental, Philippines - In March 2021, sustainable forest management company Citicore Candlewick Bioenergy, Inc. (CCBI) formally joined the consortium of Local Resource Organizations (LROs) under the Generating Rural Opportunities by Working with Cooperatives (GROW Coop) Project funded by the USAID and implemented by Agriterra. The partnership aims to strengthen the organizational capacities of small-scale forest producers and cooperatives that CCBI works with in its biomass plantation operations in the municipalities of Isabela, Binalbagan and Himamaylan. The capacity development support for the cooperatives is aimed to result in their increased representation, participation in value chain processes, and household income. 

Source: Citicore-Candlewick Biomass

CCBI belongs to the umbrella of Citicore Power Inc. (CPI) and Candlewick Green Canopy International Corporation (CGCIC), sustainability companies involved in the sectors of renewable energy, water supply, and sustainable forestry. CCBI produces wood biomass products like wood chips and pellets using sustainable techniques from planting to harvesting before exporting them to countries with high demand for wood biomass fuel like Japan and South Korea. The company works alongside the Citicore Candlewick Foundation Inc. (CCFI) to ensure that it is operating sustainably while creating a shared value in the rural communities where it works. 

CCBI CEO Frederick LaCroix said:

“CCBI operates on two fronts—the production of biomass products through sustainable forestry, and the protection of communities wherein we aim to energize and institutionalize the cooperatives living and operating within the plantations for optimal business performance. This is the pivotal junction with USAID and GROW Coop’s values in terms of improving livelihood opportunities and income for rural communities.”

Through the USAID Grow Coop Project, Agriterra works with large, successful cooperatives or private companies that become LROs and provides in-depth mentoring and capacity development support, as well as support participation in value chains, to small, micro and medium agri-based cooperatives. Agriterra will work with CCBI in identifying and implementing interventions to improve the financial management, governance and business development of its partner cooperatives. 

GROW Coop Chief of Party and Agriterra Business Advisor Jun Virola said:

“Empowering and increasing the capacities of small forestry cooperatives will make them better and more reliable suppliers for larger businesses. Agriterra’s new partnership with CCBI does not only enable cooperatives to become effective actors in sustainable forest management and climate change mitigation, but also address interlinked challenges in rural poverty, food security, and nutrition among forest and agri-based communities.”

Source: Citicore Biomass

Negros Occidental’s coal-free status is driving the development of renewable energy sources in the province and creating green jobs where cooperatives are emerging as critical actors for economic development. The GROW Coop Project and its consortium of LROs are committed to support smaller cooperatives navigate through this rapidly changing environment, with the end goal of contributing to the improved quality of life of agricultural communities.

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