SEN. NINOY AQUINO, SULTAN KUDARAT — The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) recently spearheaded the construction of a coffee processing facility to raise the farmers’ level of competency from being mere raw farm producers into food processors themselves. Municipal Agrarian Reform Program Officer Adriano Losaria and Sen. Ninoy Aquino Mayor Dante Manganaan led the groundbreaking rites of the P1.1 million coffee processing facility in Barangay Kuden, Sen. Ninoy Aquino.
The project, courtesy of the DAR’s Mindanao Sustainable Agrarian and Agriculture Development (MinSAAD), involves the construction of a 36-square-meter building and a 180-square-meter solar dryer with provisions for coffee processing equipment which includes grinder, roaster and a de-huller machine. “The project’s aim is to increase the income of some 1,600 agrarian reform beneficiaries by providing them with a facility to process and add value to their harvested coffee beans,” Losaria said.
Under the project, the farmers will undergo seminars and trainings on coffee production, processing, product development and business marketing to develop their farm enterprise and make their business operations profitable.
“Right now, the construction of the facility will greatly help them with the proper drying of the coffee beans. Our long-term goal is to help our farmers establish a coffee enterprise via this coffee processing facility,” Losaria said.
Prior to the project launch, the DAR conducted a series of consultations with farmers belonging to 16 agrarian reform beneficiaries organizations (ARBOs) and the local government of Sen. Ninoy Aquino.
“We found out that our farmers often experience losses for lack of proper coffee drying facility. They also need to have access to cheap but high-quality coffee seedlings for their farms,” Losaria said.
He said farmers use canvas, in lieu of a flatbed drier or a concrete drier to dry their coffee beans. “This drying procedure lessens the quality of the coffee beans and low-quality beans will fetch a low price from coffee traders.”
To address the need for cheap but high-quality coffee seedlings, MinSAAD Project Manager Cenon Original said “we will establish a coffee nursery where good-quality coffee seeds will be planted by the farmers themselves.”
“The nursery will ensure that only high-quality coffee beans will be planted in the farms. Plus, it will save farmers time and money for sourcing coffee seedlings in other towns,” said Original.
Farmer Merlinda Bautista of the Kuden Women’s Organization said they are thankful for the facility project.
“We are excited with the construction of the facility and coffee nursery. We will soon fetch a good price for our coffee beans. Plus, additional income when we develop our coffee products and sell them in the market,” Bautista said.
The facility started construction on March 4, 2016 and is targeted to be completed and functional by June 30, 2016.
The project covers 20 barangays and will be handled by the Kuden Women’s Association, being the lead ARBO and consolidator of the 15 other participating organizations in the municipality. (DAR)