THE Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), in partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), has built a P40 million rubber processing plant in Cotabatop to support local producers.
JICA Representative Yoshiyuki Ueno said in an e-mail interview that expected production capacity of the plant in Banisilan is 696 metric tons per year, and is expected to benefit 1,200 farmers in the area.
“The official turnover ceremony was on Aug. 3, though it was being operated by the farmers organization even before the ceremony,” he said.
Mr. Ueno said that consulting services came from JICA, while the national and local governments funded and built the processing plant.
According to the Mindanao Development Authority, Mindanao accounted for nearly all of the share of the Philippine rubber production in 2013, producing 444,677 metric tons out of the country’s total 444,817 metric tons.
“With this cooperation initiative, JICA hopes to contribute to Philippine equitable growth by promoting rural value chain development,” JICA Senior Representative Yuko Tanaka said in a statement sent to journalists yesterday.
Meanwhile, DAR Secretary Rafael V. Mariano, who inaugurated the processing plant, said in the statement that the government “hopes to uplift farmers’ livelihood in rural areas while helping them add value to their products.”
JICA, which is one of the world’s largest aid agencies, said that the processing plant is under the Mindanao Sustainable Agrarian and Agriculture Development (MinSAAD) Project -- a 6 billion yen Japanese-funded program implemented by the the Philippine government in support of 12 agrarian reform communities in three regions: Northern Mindanao, Davao, and Soccsksargen.
Under the MinSAAD project, the loan is being used for consulting services, agriculture infrastructure such as farm-to-market roads, irrigation and post-harvest facilities, and rural water supply, on top of capacity building support to farmers’ organizations and agribusiness competitiveness, said JICA. --Roy Stephen C. Canivel