Sulu Launches “Fruit Of Hope” Program

September 11, 2007 at 8:42 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sulu Gov. Sakur Tan and Sen. Richard Gordon launch the “Fruit of Hope” Program in cooperation with supermarket owners and non-governmental organizations to help farmers sell their produce. (Mindanao Examiner Photo service)

SULU, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Sept. 11) – Six tons of fresh fruits from Sulu were ferried by a military C-130 cargo plane for supermarkets in Manila, the first in more than a decade, as part of an ambitious government program aimed at putting the province on the map of an emerging fruit trade and tourism destination in southern Philippines.

Sulu Governor Sakur Tan launched Monday the so-called “Fruits of Hope” program to help local farmers sell their produce, especially exotic fruits, such as durian and mangosteen berries.

Senator Richard Gordon, former Tourism Secretary, is helping Tan market local agricultural products, including coffee beans – Robusta and Arabica – which are abundant on Jolo island, about 950 kilometers south of Manila.

Gordon, accompanied by Presidential deputy peace adviser Nabil Tan and executives from Shopwise and Shoemart Supermarkets, Nestle and Asia-America Initiative, led the launching of “Invest in Peace and Prosperity – Fruit of Hope Program.”

The program, he said, aims to enhance peace and prosperity in Mindanao.

“Six tons of fresh fruits from Sulu were ferried by a military C-130 cargo plane for supermarkets in Manila. And we have more fruits and perhaps the best coffee in the country too, all ready for buyers,” the governor said.

“By a substantial shipment of farm products such as fruits from Sulu, will create the framework for peace through economic development. This initiative will eventually link the farmers of Sulu to big businesses and small retailers in Manila,” he said.

Tan said the international nongovernmental organization, Asia-America Initiative, headed by Albert Santoli, has supported the program and promised to help even more by tapping other NGOs to help support the peace and development in Sulu.

“This multi-faceted partnership to build economic prosperity will build trust and confidence between the people of Luzon and Mindanao.”

“This is a wonderful example of how people of many faiths and cultural backgrounds can recognizance their common humanity and realize that peace is possible and poverty that feeds violence can be overcome,” Santoli said.

President Gloria Arroyo in August ordered a “humanitarian and development offensive” in Jolo island.

Gordon, for his part, said the government will put more efforts in Jolo and other areas in Mindanao to help farmers sell their products. “There are plenty of fruits. We should help in the livelihood component of the people. If there is no livelihood, there will be no peace,” he said.

The Fruit of Hope program is most dynamic development and is a product of many positive developments in Sulu community. Aside from fruits, Sulu is also abundant in coconut and abaca and is known for its rich marine resources. (Mindanao Examiner)


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