Altavas, Aklan – Farmer-members of Catmon (Aklan) Multi-Purpose Cooperative expressed their gratitude to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) as the agency turned over recently a bamboo handicraft processing center worth Php300,000.00 which would benefit a total of 159 members, consisting of 126 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) and 33 non-ARBs.
“Maraming salamat sa DAR sa patuloy na suporta. Nag-alangan kami sa umpisa ng binigyan ng kapital at responsibilidad para sa processing center, pero sa patuloy na gabay at tulong ng DAR kami ay naniwala sa aming kakayahan at ipagpatuloy ang aming nasimulan,” said Gelly H. Navarra , chairperson of the cooperative.
DAR Western Visayas Regional Director Shiela Enciso said the Catmon (Aklan) MPC is among the DAR assisted cooperatives that availed the business development service with support facility under the Village Level Farm Focused Enterprise Development (VLFED). She said the project covers the rehabilitation of a processing center for bamboo handicrafts, as their main product.
“One of the basic requirements to become a recipient of VLFED project is the availability of raw materials for the product being developed. It is very fortunate for Catmon (Aklan) MPC since barangay Catmon is rich in bamboo plants - the potential source of raw materials for the said enterprise,” Enciso said.
Enciso said the total VLFED project cost amounts to Php 300,000.00, with the Aklan provincial local government unit (LGU) providing their counterpart amounting to Php60,000.00, LGU of Altavas with Php20,000.00, and the House of Representative with Php60,000.00.
“The VLFED project aims to enhance the products of farmers through the provision of appropriate facilities and equipment,” Enciso said.
She said that with the completion of the construction of the processing center the cooperative members can now work together with a common goal of helping and making their endeavor beneficial not only to the officers and members of the cooperative but also to the whole community of Aklan.
“It is expected to boost the income of the cooperative since this will become as an additional livelihood for its members, as they simultaneously engage in other farming activities such as vegetable, ginger, and coconut production. The project also offers job opportunities to other household members who possess skills in bamboo handicraft making,” she said.