THE income of farmers in Zamboanga del Norte is expected to be boosted with the construction of a facility to process and add value to their farm products, like vinegar, a by-product of coconut.
This was learned after the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) led the groundbreaking rites of the P694,000.00-worth vinegar processing facility in Barangay Sta. Cruz.
Rizzel Villanueva, DAR Zamboanga del Norte Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer, said that the farmer-members of the Santa Cruz Small Coconut Farmers’ Multi-Purpose Cooperative will benefit on the project.
The cooperative is a recipient of the Village Level Farm-focused Enterprise Development (VLFED) project that aims to enhance the products of the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) using appropriate facilities and equipment applicable to the agri-business enterprise of the cooperative.
Villanueva said the project seeks to increase the income of farmers by providing them with a facility to process and add value to their farm products, like vinegar, a by-product of coconut.
“The farmers living in La Libertad are mostly coconut farmers. In their copra-making, nothing is wasted. The coconut water, which was usually just thrown away, is used to process into vinegar,” Villanueva explained.
She said the farmers will undergo seminars and training from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) on vinegar-making and other coconut by-products, product development, and business marketing to develop their farm enterprises and make their business operations profitable.
“This project is a big help to the farmers and to nearby farm communities who depend on coconuts and manufacturing products from the trees as a source of income and livelihood,” Villanueva added.
Prior to the groundbreaking rites, the DAR signed a memorandum of agreement with the DOST, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
Under the agreement, the DAR shall provide for the construction of the facility, product testing analysis, and other laboratory tests of agri-products.
It was also agreed that the DOST would provide machines for the processing facility such as LPG burners with tanks, air compressors, 60-liter kettles, and other plant accessories. The DTI will provide the promotion and marketing of the coconut vinegar.
The construction of the food processing facility will end on December 2023 and is expected to be fully operational before the year ends.