Some 427 abaca farmers in far-flung communities in Agusan del Norte stand to expand their abaca farms to boost local production of abaca fiber through the abaca value chain project under Project ConVERGE, (Convergence on Value Chain Enhancement for Rural Growth and Empowerment), implemented by the Department of Agrarian Reform of Agusan del Norte.
ABACA VALUE CHAIN LEARNING VISIT. DAR Undersecretary Bernie F. Cruz (5th from left) together with IFAD Consultant Gomer Tumbali, (2nd from left) and Ms. Lea Pandapatan interact with the local abaca farmers during their visit at abaca nursery and production area of SIUFMULCO in Santiago town on July 30, 2018. Also in the photo are Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II Andre B. Atega, (extreme right) SIUFMULCO Chairman Papias Bernados, (extreme left) and Manager Leonora Mila. (center)
The project ConVERGE supports in scaling up the abaca value chain enterprise of San Isidro Upland Multipurpose Cooperative (SIUFMULCO) as the lead proponent group of 20 participating groups consisting 2,035 members of which 460 (24%) Indigenous Peoples (IPs) living across the four municipalities of Tubay, Jabonga, Kitcharao and Santiago (TUJAKITSAN) Cluster) in Agusan del Norte.
Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II (PAPRO II) Andre B. Atega urged the local farmers and Indigenous Peoples (IPs) engage in abaca value chain to produce quality fiber to compete for the market standard that will result to increase a household income.
Under the integrated enterprise enhancement for abaca value chain, the projects has a total released up to P 55.6-M since it was launched in 2016, which composed of capability enhancement trainings; 12 units stripping machines; 1-unit 10-wheeler hauling truck; and planting materials and inputs covering 383 hectares distributed to at least 10 farmer-groups comprising 427 beneficiaries.
Project ConVERGE Coordinator Annelyn Chan said that from P55-M budget, 43 percent or P23.5- million is still in the pipeline to be implemented within 2018. This includes the proposed Phase I 1.6667 kms. from NRJ Poblacion 2 to Sitio Cadahon-dahonan farm to market road in Santiago.
SIUFMULCO Manager Leonora Mila admitted that for several years, the coop had experienced downfall of abaca production, due to widespread diseases and lack of adequate skill on farm management.
“Presently, the demand of abaca has been increasing. We are now delivering an average production of 200 metric tons per month. We are projected to double into a compounded annual growth rate of around 5 percent in the next five years,” Mila added.
“We are very grateful through the support of DAR under Project ConVERGE and complementation efforts of various stakeholders. The farmers could slowly fill the gap on the abaca fiber supply shortage in the province,” Mila further said.
Staying true to its promise of bringing the services closer to the people, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) has opened its 67th branch in Agusan del Sur recently. “Napakalayong lugar ito kaya nga dapat magkaroon ng isang branch doon para mabigyan ng tulong ang ating mga kababayan...