NAGA CITY—Farmers here are now earning extra income after the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) launched the Lirag Organic Rice Coffee to the buying public on June 15, 2016 at the DAR provincial office here.
The organic rice coffee product is grown and produced by the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) of the Lirag Agrarian Reform Farmer Beneficiaries Cooperative (LARFBCO).
DAR Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer Raquel P. Claveria said the farmer-members of LARFBCO, whose main income comes from rice farming, is not enough for their families.
“Their income just cover their basic needs. They badly need additional income to pay for other necessities like clothing and school expenses for their children,” Claveria said.
Claveria said the ARBs, headed by cooperative Chairman Engr. Jaime Abonita, went to the DAR to ask assistance in venturing into rice coffee production with the objective of generating employment and additional income to ARB members.
The DAR, in response, went into partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Central Bicol State University of Agriculture (CBSUA).
“The DTI provided the trainings in putting-up the rice coffee business, the DOST taught the farmers in processing organic rice into instant coffee mix while the CBSUA trained the farmers in organic rice farming,” explained Claveria.
According to Claveria the cooperative started the rice coffee business last January where they market-tested the product. “With the help of our partner-agencies, the product has greatly improved its quality and is now at par with the commercial brands in the market.”
“It is also very affordable. The suggested retail price is only P 45.00 per 100-gram pouch,” added Claveria.
According to Chief Agrarian Reform Program Officer Augusto Medina, Jr. the emergence of numerous coffee shops in the Bicol region will help boost the rice coffee business of the farmers.
“It means they have a ready market for their product. We are helping them sell their products by linking them to buyers like groceries and coffee shops in the province,” Medina said. (May B. Peña)
Photo 1: The Lirag Organic Rice Coffee served with variations during its product launching on June 15, 2016, held at the DAR Camarines Sur 1 Provincial Office in Naga City.
Photo 2: The Lirag Rice Coffee mix in 100-gram packs.