The Department of Agrarian Reform recently handed over a newly-completed smoked fish processing center to the farmer-members of the Asosasyon ng Sama- Samang Kababaihan Tungo sa Kaunlaran in Mercedes town, Camarines Norte.
DAR Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer Roseller R. Olayres said the smoked fish processing center aims to increase the household income of farmers by providing them with a facility to process and add value to their fish product, like “tinapa” (smoked fish).
“This tinapa food processing facility is perfect for the farmers because Mercedes is a coastal municipality and fishing, apart from farming, is another source of income for them,” said Olayres.
Before the processing center was turned over, officers and members of ASSKA went through various training and seminars about business and product development.
The training and seminars were facilitated by DAR in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Science and Technology, and the Bureau Fish and Aquatic Resources.
“With the processing facility and the farmers’ learning on food processing and entrepreneurship, our farmers can now compete in a wider commercial market,” Olayres pointed out.
The construction of the processing center is a joint project and effort of the local government of Mercedes through Mayor Alexander L. Pajarillo and DAR-Camarines Norte under the Village Level Processing Center Enhancement Project.
“VLPCEP is a partnership program that empowers farmers by providing them appropriate knowledge and skills as well as provide them assistance for the necessary facilities and infrastructures,” Olayres said. (By Roma Amalia Dava)
Photo 1: Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer Roseller R. Olayres cuts the ceremonial ribbon at the opening of the Smoked Fish Processing Center. With him are: PARPO Del Monte, Mayor Pajarillo’s representative, and Barangay Chairman of Hinipaan PB Pardo together with ASSKA members.
Photo 2: ASSKA farmer-members demonstrated the packaging of processed smoked fish using the vacuum sealer.
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