Pangasinan town farmers turn cassava crops to chips

The Calapugan Agrarian Reform Cooperative (CARC) in this town has been processing cassava crops into chips with the assistance of the Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR) Village Level Farm-focused Enterprise Development (VLFED) project and other national government agencies.

In an interview on Monday, CARC chairman Rogelio Pagal said the DAR has allotted PHP300,000 for the enhancement of the processing facility of the cooperative, aside from the training provided to the members.

The group also underwent product development, packaging and labeling, and digital marketing training with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for the improvement of their products, he said.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the local government unit (LGU) led the inspection of the site and in the formulation of the blueprint for the processing center of the enterprise, he added.

The DAR, DTI, DOST, and the LGU are committed to assisting the cooperative in obtaining their cassava processing enterprise license to operate from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“Sa pamamagitan ng mga programang ito, ramdam namin ang malaking tulong nito sa pangkabuhayan ng mga miyembro. (Through this program, we felt its huge help to the livelihood of the members),” Pagal said.

He said they are now producing an average of 540 packs daily in their cassava chips enterprise, while they take orders for cassava cakes.

Pagal added there was more supply of cassava but with lesser demand amid the pandemic, affecting the cooperative’s member-farmers’ income.

“May mga pagkakataon na nabulok na mga tanim namin kaya nag-isip kami na gawin itong ibang produkto. Noong una, yong cassava cake kaso by order lang yon pero ngayong taon, may tulong ang DAR at iba ang ahensya ng pamahalaan. (There were times when our crops were spoiled so we thought of other products. At first, we made cassava cake but it was only by the order until this year, DAR and other national government agencies are helping us),” he said.

Pagal said over 90 members of the cooperative are grateful for the assistance they are receiving from the national government through the different agencies.

“We are optimistic that this project with the DAR and other agencies will be a success with the help of the Almighty God,” he added.

Source: Philippines News Agency