Century Pacific Food, Inc. (PSE:CNPF), one of the largest branded food companies in the Philippines, GCash, the Philippines’ leading mobile wallet, and impact organization HOPE, have planted over 300 thousand trees as of November 2021, three months after launching its tree-planting program.
In August this year, the trio pledged to jointly plant 1 million coconut trees through GForest. The initiative aims to support smallholder coconut farmers in the provinces of South Cotabato and Sarangani, 60% of which live below the poverty line.
GForest is the environmental protection feature on the GCash app that has allowed more than 9 million GCash users to take an active role in helping mother nature. By reducing their carbon footprint and doing cashless services like sending money, paying bills and buying prepaid load in GCash, users are awarded green energy points in GForest, which they can use to claim a virtual tree. CNPF, GCash, and HOPE then convert these virtual trees into real coconut trees.
In just three months, the program has covered the equivalent of 3,000 hectares of land with new coconut seedlings.
Noel Tempongko, Vice President and General Manager of CNPF’s coconut division, said, “We are very pleased with the progress that we’re making. Through GForest, we have a platform that enables us to spread awareness and involve consumers in our journey. More than 2,300 farmers have already benefited from this program.”
Among the beneficiaries are Alfredo Moranos and Charles Bartolaba, coconut farmers from Glan, Sarangani Province.
Moranos said, “I am grateful to receive these [coconut] seedlings. These donations are a big help to us farmers and will definitely enrich the products of our town, Glan.”
“These seedlings will not just benefit us, they will also contribute to the future of our children,” added Bartolaba.
Since 2014, CNPF has partnered with HOPE’s agriculture program impacting smallholder coconut farmers through seedling distribution, farmer training, intercropping and increased market access. The agriculture program has since impacted over 10,000 smallholder coconut farmers in Mindanao improving farming productivity and profitability, while placing importance on female farmers, who comprise 40% of the farmers in the program.
Marites Sucias, a 48-year-old farmer from Sarangani and a recipient of coconut seedlings, said, “Most of the coconuts here in our farm are already senile and bear little fruit. We’ve been hoping to replace them with more productive new seedlings for quite some time. We are extremely grateful for the new coconut seedlings that we’ve received.”
According to HOPE’s Managing Director, Ilusion Farias, “A coconut tree is called the tree of life because every single component can be used to sustain human life. As we continue distributing seedlings and planting more trees, we not only help restore the planet, but also focus on the positive impact made towards the community of smallholder farmers, especially in Mindanao.”
The road to 1 million coconut trees is an integral part of CNPF’s Sustainability Program. With the help of GForest and HOPE, the Company’s coconut division will effectively reach net zero carbon emissions by 2028. It will help secure the Company’s long-term supply of raw materials for its fast-growing coconut business.
“We are happy to become partners with Century and Hope for the purpose of environmental protection and sustainability through GForest. The partnership empowers our users to become “green heroes” in their own right and ensures that we help promote a “green lifestyle” for future generations to come,” said GCash’s Chief Customer Officer, Winsley Bangit.