BENEFICIARIES of agrarian reform in the town of Makilala, North Cotabato, will be tapped to boost the country’s coffee production in the Mindanao region, according to Marion Abella of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).
Abella, North Cotabato Provincial Agrarian reform program officer, said the coffee production project is worth P0.47 million.
The project seeks to produce 31,000 coffee seedlings to be planted in at least 50 hectares of agricultural lands along streams and riverbanks in Barangay Kawayanon in the same municipality, he added. The barangay is home to the Makilala South West Agrarian Reform Community.
“Planting these coffee seedlings is like hitting two birds with one stone,” Abella said. The project is called the National Convergence Initiative (NCI) of the DAR, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
The project, Abella explained, will provide farmers opportunity to increase incomes through production of planting materials and by maintaining the plantation to be established in the area.
The NCI is a government strategy aiming to reduce poverty in the countryside by providing livelihood projects, infrastructure, agricultural technology trainings and access to credit. The National Greening Program, which is part of the NCI, has as major component the planting of high-value commercial crops.
The latter program also aims to plant 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares by 2016.
“Aside from their traditional crops of rice and corn, the farmers will have additional income when they sell their harvested coffee beans because there’s a big market here (North Cotabato) for coffee beans,” Abella said.
He added they tapped the Kawaanon Multi-Purpose Cooperative to facilitate coffee seedling production, conduct site clearing, hole-digging and planting of the seedlings. (Jonathan L. Mayuga)