North Cotabato abaca farmers get ₧300K assistance from DAR

Abaca farmers from North Cotabato got a much-needed boost from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) with the recent turnover of P300,000 worth of enhanced abaca processing and drying center.

The facility was turned over to the Perez ARB (agrarian reform beneficiaries) Rubber Farmers Association of Barangay Perez, Kidapawan City, to help improve the quality of abaca fiber they produce.

Aside from the facility, the abaca farmers would also benefit from a P2 million worth project entitled, “Environment Responsible Abaca Value Chain to North Cotabato Farmers,” through the World Vision Development Foundation, with funding support from the government of Singapore.

With the enhanced processing and drying center, the farmers are expected to further improve their livelihood and increase their income, DAR Assistant Regional Director and concurrent Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II Rodolfo Alburo said in a news statement.

Provided through Village Level Farm-focused Enterprise Development (VLFED) project, the farmers will also undergo skills and institutional training as part of the soft component of the project.

“Through the training, our farmers were already producing and selling abaca by-products such as bags, slippers, placemats, bags, and twines, among others,” he said.

Meanwhile, World Vision’s Program Officer Samuel Ocon said the P2-million project would highlight the expansion of abaca production by establishing more nurseries in the area, which will directly benefit 500 farmer-beneficiaries.

“The project will help further develop farmers’ knowledge of environmental protection and climate change adaptation, and generate alternative livelihood to promote and improve the sustainability approaches of the community,” Ocon said.

During the turnover ceremony, the convergence efforts of different government agencies and non-government organizations, such as the Philippine Fiber Development Authority, Department of Trade and Industry, local government of Kidapawan City, and the World Vision Development Foundation, were recognized for boosting the abaca industry and for extending assistance to the recipient ARB organization.

In the acceptance speech of the project, Association President Allan Masibay Sr., expressed his gratitude to all the agencies that extended their help in reviving and expanding the abaca production in their barangay.

“The enhancement of our abaca processing center posed a great challenge and inspiration to all the members of the organization and abaca farmers in our community. This shows the sincerity in upscaling abaca production and product innovation in our community,” Masibay said.  -30-