South Cotabato farmers' cooperatives get tractors

The Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper - - News - ( Mindanao Examiner)

SOUTH COTABATO - The Department of Agriculture turned- over 5 tractors to farmers in Polomolok town in South Cotabato province in Mindanao to further boost implementation of cassava granule production and marketing under the socalled Philippine Rural Development Project or PRDP.

The beneficiaries of the tractors are also members of 5 farmers' cooperatives - Polo Samahang Nayon Multi- Purpose Cooperative, which is the lead proponent of the P39- million enterprise, and cluster members Self- Reliant Multi- Purpose Cooperative, San Jose MultiPurpose Cooperative, Pobusilla Multi- Purpose Cooperative and Topland Multi- Purpose Cooperative. They were initially released P20 million to jump- start the implementation of the project in June last year.

“We are moving forward. The five cooperatives continue our positive and upbeat implementation of the project,” said Raul Gerada, chairman of the Polo Samahang Nayon Multi- Purpose Cooperative.

At least 250 cassava farmers directly benefited from the enterprise when the project started in 2015. The clusters aim to increase beneficiaries by 40% every year of implementation.

“I am thankful to the strong leadership and partnership of the Department of Agriculture led by Secretary Proceso Alcala, the Department of Agriculture in Region 12 headed by Regional Executive Director Amalia Datukan, and the provincial government of South Cotabato under Governor Daisy Fuentes for making things happen,” Gerada said.

Karen Daguro, manager of the Polo Samahang Nayon Multi- Purpose Cooperative, also said that the tractors will be used to make land preparation of the existing 250- hectare cassava farm easier and more efficient, and expansion of their farm areas. "Part of cassava granule production project includes construction of nursery for planting materials, acquisition delivery and hauling trucks, setting- up truck- scale, post- harvest and processing facilities such as granulators, mechanical chipper, solar dryer, warehouse, and organic fertilizer plant,” she said, adding, the first wave of farm inputs comprised of cassava granulators and cassava chippers here handed to the cluster members in November last year.

Daguro said that they will also turn- over some trucks and additional moisture meters which are now ready for procurement.

The PDRP - implemented by the Department of Agriculture and jointly funded by the World Bank - is a six- year project designed to establish the government platform for a modern, climate- smart and market- oriented agri- fishery sector. PRDP is in partnership with local governments and the private sector in providing key infrastructure, facilities, technology, and information that will raise incomes, productivity, and competitiveness in the countryside.

South Cotabato 2nd District Board Member Vicente De Jesus ( leftmost) leads the ceremonial turn- over of tractors to the cluster members of the Cassava Production and Marketing Project represented by Polo Samahang Nayon Multi- purpose Cooperative chairman Raul Gerada ( 5th from left). Also with them are ( left to right) Mon Mati, South Cotabato 1st District Board Member Romeo Tamayo, Abner Navarro, Karen Daguro, Provincial Agriculturist Justina Navarete, and Marlyn Almaden.

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