Focus Area: Agri-Institutional Development

Capacity Building Towards Advancing Food Safety Standards and Strengthening the PH-EU Cooperation on Food Trade

The food industry of the Philippines is one that has a rich cultural base that fits the palates of the world. The country is likewise blessed with a rich array of natural resources that provides all types of raw materials for the development of food products such as marine and fresh water fishes, crustaceans, domesticated animals, fruit trees, crops and vegetables, to name a few. Given this potential, the project aimed to discover the hindrances to the Philippine food industry in gaining considerable market share and bounty.


ASSIST through this project, conducted consultation activities and researched on obstacles to higher food safety standards by raising awareness among CEOs and different stakeholders and implementing online and offline training modules. Through this project, it was discovered that one of the problems is the lack of activities to capacitate the food industry to produce world-class products. The project therefore, specifically aimed at addressing this problem while fostering cooperation and trade relationships between the Philippines and EU member states through the reduction and elimination of hazards / risks in Philippine food production.

Fairtrade: Mainstreaming Equitable Practices in the Production and Trade of Agro-Products in the Philippines

The Fairtrade movement in the Philippines has been around for more than two decades but only few producers, especially farmers, are aware of it. Part of the goal to change this, is to form a Fairtrade Marketing Organization (FMO) in the Philippines that will promote fairtrade certification and increase the sales of fairtrade products.


ASSIST in partnership with FLO-Cert, OURFood and SIGNAsia implemented this project to support the establishment of FMO and increase awareness on the benefits of fairtrade to farmers and businesses.


ASSIST developed awareness raising materials on fairtrade,  including international standards for small producers and the certification process. This was achieved through the conduct of workshops, forums and a market research; and strategy to identify commercial partners. The project also secured the commitment of future fairtrade product retailers in the Philippines. Two workshops were conducted in the Visayas region (Bacolod and Cebu) to provide basic information about Fairtrade International, FMO, standards for small producers and the certification processes. This was attended by civil society organizations (CSOs), including farmer organizations and small businesses.

PRO-FOREST – Promoting Sustainable Forest Management and Minimizing Further Socio-Economic and Environmental Impact

In Asia, Cambodia has exhibited one of the highest rates of diminishing forest cover due to several drivers of degradation such as unsustainable and illegal logging. While consuming its forest resources not only for local use but for export to Vietnam, China and Laos, woods and timber extraction have been prevalent even in the protected areas. ASSIST together with Bureau Veritas and DEG launched PRO-FOREST – a project that aims to promote sustainable forest management and minimizing further socio-economic and environmental impact, through demonstration of FM concepts, principles and techniques.


The project carried out stakeholder awareness and capacity building events on sustainable FM systems and demonstrated compliance with regulatory requirements as well as preparation for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-FM Certification. Local consultants and auditors’ training and gap assessments were launched with learnings showcased during the best practices forum.


As a result of the project’s actions, collaboration with local communities and stakeholders was established. Knowledge transfer was effectively organized and representatives of local communities, experts, and local auditors were trained to implement the FSC certification schemes in Cambodia. In order to ensure project sustainability, forest owners and managers were trained in developing forest management plans while pilot communities were also oriented for the preparation of FSC certification.