BANISILAN, North Cotabato— Farmers’ income is expected to increase with the establishment of a P40.7 million rubber processing plant here.
The said facility, which was inaugurated yesterday by Agrarian Secretary Rafael Mariano, is a big-ticket project of the Mindanao Sustainable Agrarian and Agriculture Development Program (MINSAAD), a foreign-assisted project under the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).
The facility would produce quality dry rubber crumbs (DRC) needed by rubber exporters and tire manufacturers in the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Cebu and Manila.
“The DAR aims to increase the productivity and income of the beneficiaries—the farmer-members of the Banisilan Farmers Credit Cooperative (BFCC) as well as farmers belonging to other organizations. What we are doing is part of the agrarian reform community development plan of Banisilan,” Mariano said.
“And with the improved quality of DRC, our farmers could now fetch good market prices, thus, increasing their productivity and income. This project would not only provide employment for farmer-residents, this would also spur the growth of related industries here,” he said.
The constructed rubber plant facility consisted 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.
DAR Undersecretary for foreign assisted projects Herman Ongkiko said the BFCC targets to produce 1,000,000 tons of DRC in 2017 which translates to P12.3 million net profit for the cooperative.
“Based on our studies, with a yearly production of 1,000,000 tons of DRC, the investment on the facility will be recovered in three years. By the third year of operation, the cooperative should be producing 3,000,000 million tons of DRC or P36.9 million net profit,” Ongkiko said.
“And as the cooperative’s production increases, the farmers’ income would also increase. Based on our projections, we see it increasing by 30 percent,” said Ongkiko.
Transportation cost is a big burden to farmers because the existing small-scale rubber processing plants in Cotabato and Bukidnon are too far from their farm sites.
“Now that the cooperative owns the facility, there will be substantial reduction in transportation cost and that becomes savings for the cooperative,” Ongkiko said.
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.
The P40.7 million rubber processing facility implemented under the MINSAAD was funded by the Japan International Cooperative Agency (JICA). The rubber facility will be fully operational before the year ends.
As of 2016, Banisilan has 1,800 hectares planted to rubber and 1,500 hectares are already productive. 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.
Photo 1: DAR Secretary Rafael Mariano (center) cuts the ceremonial ribbon to formally open the rubber processing plant of the Banisilan Farmers Credit Cooperative (BFCC) in Gastav, Banisilan, North cotabato. Also in Photo: DAR Undersecretary for Foreign Assisted Projects Herman Ongkiko, Jica Representative Yuko Tanaka, Japan Embassy Representative Naoyuki Ochiai, DAR Provincial Agrarian Reform program Officer Marion Abella and Banisilan Governor Emmylou Mendoza.
Photo 2: Secretary Mariano lifting a 35-kilo baled dry rubber crumb, the processed rubber product of the cooperative.
Photo 3: Sec. Mariano and Japan Embassy Rep. Naoyuki Ochiai lifts baled dry rubber crumb as Ms. Tanaka, Gov. Mendoza, Usec. Ongkiko and PARPO Abella looks on.