The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) recently launched the construction of a rubber processing facility worth P40.7 million for the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) of Gastav, Banisilan, North Cotabato.
DAR Undersecretary for foreign assisted projects Herman Ongkiko said the project, courtesy of the Mindanao Sustainable Agrarian and Agriculture Development Program (MINSAAD), involves the construction of 10x12 meter building and 10x12 meter air dryer building with provisions of complete supply of motor control center, installation of power line (1-50KVA transformers), construction of transformer concrete pad, elevated water tank and piping system, and construction of waste water pond.
The rubber processing facility is also equipped with a 13-blade primary slab cutter, creper and macerator, shredder, 400 KDR/HR trolley dryer, twin-cylinder hydraulic press, mechanical rubber washer/blender, 20 feet belt conveyor, 4x8 meters stainless top table, and 50kg. capacity digital scale.
Ongkiko led the groundbreaking rites along with North Cotabato Governor Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza, 3rd Dist. Rep. Jose Tejada, DAR Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer Marion Abella and MINSAAD Project Manager Cenon Original.
“DAR aims to increase the productivity and income of the beneficiaries—the Banisilan Farmers Credit Cooperative. What we are doing is part of the agrarian reform community development plan of Banisilan,” Ongkiko said.
“There are small-scale rubber processing plants in Cotabato and Bukidnon but it was too far from their farm sites that transportation cost becomes a burden to them,” he added.
The construction of rubber processing plant, Ongkiko said, would address farmers’ concerns on hauling and delivery costs of their rubber cup lumps.
“The cup lumps harvested by farmers will be processed as bailed rubber in this facility. This facility will also help increase the value of rubber cup lump, the coagulated rubber latex,” said Ongkiko.
Ongkiko said farmers should produce quality rubber cup lumps so that their products could fetch good market prices.
“Once the facility is completed, rubber farmers here can have an annual incremental income of at least P38,763 per hectare as savings from freight and handling if delivered in processing centers in North Cotabato,” he added.
“Since the processing plant is within the farmers’ reach, there will be substantial reduction in transportation cost and savings for the farmers,” Ongkiko said.
The rubber facility started construction on October 26, 2015 and is targeted to be completed and functional within eight months.
The project covers 17 barangays and will be handled by the Banisilan Farmers Credit Cooperative, being the lead people’s organization and consolidator of the 25 other participating organizations in the municipality.
North Cotabato is the country’s second largest rubber producer, next to Zamboanga Sibugay, with a rubber plantation area of at least 55,000 hectares.