Seaweed farmers of the SAMASABALATASAN farmers’ cooperative are thrilled that the provincial government of Oriental Mindoro has committed P500,000 to their seaweed processing project that they are pursuing in partnership with the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).
Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer Marilou Baslan said the P500,000 would be used for the processing facility that the DAR is building for the seaweed processing project.
According to Basilan, seaweed farming is the dominant economic activity in District 2 of Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro. Seaweed processing was first introduced to District 2 under the national convergence initiative being pursued by the DAR, Dept. of Agriculture, Bureau of Fisheries, Dept. of Trade and Industry, Dept. of Labor and Employment and the local government of Oriental Mindoro.
“Since the introduction [of the project], the SAMASABALATASAN cooperative has developed five products made from seaweed, from which the farmer-members earn extra-income,” Basilan said.
“In the study we conducted, we found out that their seaweed by-products like canton noodles, crackers, pickles and soaps, have a big demand in the market. But the lack of vital facilities has kept them from meeting such demand. They also don’t have the FDA-LTO certificate for their business (Food and Drug Administration-License to Operate),” added Basilan.
The DAR and the SAMASABALATASAN Cooperative sought the help of Governor Alfonso Umali, Jr., and Bulalacao Municipal Administrator Ernilo Villas. Gov. Umali readily committed P500,000 for completion of the processing facility.
“I want my constituents at District 2 to earn more for their families. After the construction of the building facility, they can now get their FDA-LTO certificate to open their business,” said Umali.
Administrator Villas on the other hand, promised to shoulder the cost of building the water system and the peripheral fence of the facility.
The DAR in return will allot P500,000 to be used for product development and market linkages.
The DAR’s seaweed processing project is targeted to start within the year under the Agrarian Reform Communities Projects (ARCP). (Gefelyn A. Goleng)
Photo 1: (L-R)
Bulalacao Municipal Administrator Ernilo Villas, SAMASABALATASAN Chairman Constancio Mendoza and Gov. Alfonso Umali Jr. discussing the seaweed project.
Photo 2: (L-R)
Gov. Umali, Jr., Bulalacao Administrator Villas, ARCP’s Agri Luz S. Ani, DAR-MIMAROPA and Provincial Officers and Staffs seated in a meeting for the Php 500K grant and other assistance from LGU for the completion of construction of the SAMASABALATASAN Seaweed Processing Building.
Gov. Umali with the ARCP Consultant Luz Ani, explaining the project proposal and the possible counterparts needed to implement the project.