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Catholic Relief Services partnership may boost squash farmers’ income

business mirrorSQUASH farmers in the town of Umingan, Pangasinan province, recently forged ties with the Catholic Relief Services to market their produce.

The partnership, facilitated by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), is expected to ensure greater economic opportunities for the farmers in two remote barangays in the municipality.

DAR Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer Maria Ana B. Francisco said that 166 members of Umingan Farmers Agrarian Reform Cooperative (Ufarco) in barangays Luna Este and Luna Weste enlisted themselves into the DAR project.

These officials dubbed the project as “Linking Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries to Corporate Supply Chains.”

Francisco said that through the partnership, DAR expects the farmers’ livelihood to improve through agro-enterprise engagements. She added the project promises to link the agrarian-reform beneficiaries in marketing their produce to institutional buyers and centers.

At present, they are marketing their produce to Dizon Farm and to other consolidators, according to her.

Francisco said the DAR also helps the two agrarian-reform communities gain access to credit through the same partnership. She said they were clustered to facilitate their access to credit institutions engaged in microfinance services such as Gulf Bank and GM Bank. The loans applied for would be used for their squash production.

Umingan Mayor Eldred P. Tumbocon requested the DAR and CRS to consider squash for the project, being its “One Town, One Product.”

In addition, the areas planted with squash are covered under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.

Ufarco member Melecio E. Echavaria said he earned P100,000 for 100 cavans of squash he harvested per year. (Written by Jonathan L. Mayuga)

Source: http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/business/agri-commodities/23400-catholic-relief-services-partnership-may-boost-squash-farmers-income

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