Equipment for Toledo farmers

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Friday, March 20, 2015

At the turnover of agribusiness equipment in Magdugo, Toledo City were (from left) Southern Partners and Fair Trade Center Inc. production manager Rolando Labradores, architect Ferdinand Marquez of the Toledo City Government, Managsama chairman Benjamin Siaboc, DTI 7 Director Asteria Caberte and DTI Provincial Director Nelia Navarro. (Contributed photo)


A FARMING association received equipment in Barangay Magdugo, Toledo City yesterday from a Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) program that is meant to help them supply materials in great demand.

About 200 member-farmers of the Mag-uumang Nagkaiusa sa Sam-ang ug Magdudugo (Managsama) received a desiccated dryer machine, a de-shelling machine, a coconut meat grinding machine, five carbonizing drums and a briquetting machine.

The machines, which are worth P498,000, were provided to increase Managsama’s production of desiccated coconut and charcoal briquettes, for which the global requirement is huge.

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Desiccated coconut, a raw material for virgin coconut oil, has a huge demand in Canada, Italy, and Japan. Charcoal briquettes, on the other hand, have a big market in Korea, Japan, and the United States.

The farmers received the equipment as part of the shared service facility (SSF) program, which is aimed at improving the productivity of entrepreneurs by addressing gaps in their equipment and tools. Priority industry clusters have been identified, and the equipment are meant to be shared by beneficiaries.

“The SSF is the DTI’s answer to help the government achieve its vision of inclusive growth,” said DTI 7 Director Asteria Caberte during the turnover ceremony.

“More than just ensuring the continued supply of commodities in the market and ensuring prices remain reasonable, DTI’s other role is to promote livelihood and help improve the productivity of entrepreneurs, particularly the micro and small enterprises in rural areas,” she added.

Managsama is a Dole-registered association, whose main source of livelihood is farming of crops like coconuts, mangoes, corn, bananas, and vegetables.

Toledo, according to Southern Partners and Fair Trade Center Inc. (SPFTC) production manager Rolando Labradores, is one of the areas in the province which has huge coconut plantations.

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The SPTFC is a partner of DTI in the SSF program. It is also one of the identified buyers of the products produced by the communities under SSF, for local and international markets.

“With this technology upgrade, these farmers will now be able to produce value-added products for the markets linked to them by the DTI,” said Elias Tecson, chief trade and industry specialist of the DTI Cebu Provincial Office.

Labradores welcomed the technology upgrade, saying this is a big boost to the association’s livelihood. This development, he said, also opens income and market opportunities to the beneficiaries, who used to depend mainly on trading raw materials.

Prior to the turnover, Labradores reported that SPTFC has already pulled out 20 kilos of desiccated coconuts from Managsama using the machines. Yesterday, they pulled out an additional 200 kilos.

The current market price for desiccated coconut is P70 per kilo while coconut charcoal, a by-product of the coconut shell, goes for P12.50 a kilo.

Managsama chairman Benjamin Siaboc expressed gratitude to DTI and pledged they will use and take good care of the equipment.

Nelia Navarro, DTI Cebu provincial director, encouraged locals to invite other members of the community who have gone to the city to come back to Toledo so they, too, can participate in making the SSF program work and take advantage of market opportunities.

The SSF program in Toledo is projected to generate 180 direct and 84 indirect jobs.

Aside from providing the equipment, DTI will also provide training for Managsama members on food manufacturing and recycling. Tecson also plants to link the group to Echostore and other markets to ensure steady orders.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 20, 2015.

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