CALAPAN CITY, ORIENTAL MINDORO –The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) recently signed an agreement with City government of Calapan for the construction of a P600,000 squash processing center here to help increase the income of agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) involved in squash farming.
DAR Region 4-B Director Erlinda Pearl V. Armada said the project cost, P480,000, would come from DAR under the government’s “Grassroots Participatory Budgeting” program and P120,000 from the city government.
Armada said the squash canton production project in Sitio Bondoc, Guinobatan, Calapan City is estimated to employ for 40 women members of Guinobatan ARC Cooperative (GARCCO) who are directly involved in squash canton processing, and 25 squash and malunggay ARB-growers.
She said that the women, mostly wives of ARBs, will earn an estimated P400 per day or P8,000 per month for a 20-day production cycle.
Based on the project proposal’s projected income statement, the return on investment of the project during the first year of operation is 17.40 percent., with the cooperative expected to earn P 66,000 monthly or P792,000 annually.
“The DOST has already awarded upgraded equipment for the cooperative and is just awaiting the construction of the production building,” Engr. Marilou C. Baslan, Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer I, said.
Armada added that packaging enhancement and a series of trainings on noodle processing and current good manufacturing practices are needed to make GARCCO’s noodle production system more efficient and compliant with food safety standards.
Armada said GARCCO, is registered with the Cooperative Development Authority as a credit cooperative and has 104 members (49 men and 55 women), most of whom are ARBs and their immediate household members.