Enterprise development subprojects proposed under the Department of Agriculture’s Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP) have paved the way for improved partnerships between the Marinduque Provincial Local Government Unit (PLGU) and civil society organizations, particularly farmers’ cooperatives.
Pacifico Mabato, Chairperson of Tanikala ng Pagkakaisa Multi-Purpose Cooperative in the capital town of Boac said that since they started engaging with the PRDP, the PLGU has always been assisting their cooperative, hence enhancing their relationship with the capitol’s staff, particularly at the PRDP’s Provincial Project Management and Implementation Unit (PPMIU).
“The PLGU has recognized our group. We have since built closer relationship with them. Every time they call us for meetings, they treat us very well. As farmers, it is our first time to experience such treatment from the government,” Mabato said.
Tanikala, as their group is more popularly referred to, has proposed for a P5.59 million-worth coco geonets production and trading enterprise, the procurement process for which has already been endorsed by the PRDP to commence. The cooperative anticipates that the enterprise will provide livelihood opportunities to at least 900 agrarian reform beneficiaries and 13,000 farmers.
Mabato added that with their involvement in the PRDP, they are now more confident in dealing with government offices and officials, a practice they had not been accustomed to doing.
Meanwhile, Narcisa Mandac of the Malbog Multi-Purpose Farmers’ Cooperative in Buenavista municipality share the same sentiment as Mabato, highlighting that along with the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), the PPMIU has guided them in the preparation and processing of documents for their arrowroot production and processing microenterprise.
Also known as uraro, arrowroot is a starchy root crop usually grown between coconut trees. Marinduque has become popular for producing gluten-free cookies made from arrowroot flour.
“The DA, DAR and PPMIU have also assisted us in our training activities. The capitol has likewise closely monitored us, frequently inviting us for meetings about our project,” Mandac said.
The cooperative’s P972,000-worth subproject seeks to establish a ten-hectare arrowroot production area and expand this to 50 hectares in 2018.
The microenterprise that is expected to provide employment to at least 50 residents will also operate an arrowroot flour processing facility. This will supply buyers the cooperative will forge marketing agreements with.
PRDP National Deputy Project Director Cirilo Namoc said that besides providing opportunities for farmers to increase their incomes, the PRDP processes also seek to enhance the convergence among rural development stakeholders and empower its partner associations and cooperatives as they engage in the Project.
“With the PRDP’s participatory approaches, we have encouraged healthier relationships among our grassroots stakeholders, particularly farmers’ and fishers’ groups with local government units. We hope that these partnerships will be sustained after the Project,” Namoc said.
Other enterprise development subprojects in the province include the P1.98 million-worth coco coir processing microenterprises in Torrijos and Mogpog municipalities. ### (Jan P. Dacumos, NPCO InfoACE Unit)