Tractors, machinery boost PRDP’s cassava project in South Cotabato

In Photo: Newly purchased farm tractors will boost the cassava production and marketing project in South Cotabato, funded under the Department of Agriculture’s Philippine Rural Development Project.

By Sherwin Manual

POLOMOLOK, South Cotabato—Five tractors were turned over recently to farmers here to further boost the implementation of cassava-granule production and marketing under the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP).

“We are moving forward. The five cooperatives continue our positive and upbeat implementation of the project,” said Polo Samahang Nayon Multipurpose Cooperative (SNMPC) Chairman Raul Gerada in his acceptance message during the ceremony.

Polo SNMPC is the lead proponent of the P39-million enterprise together with other cluster members: Self-Reliant MPC, San Jose MPC, Pobusilla MPC and Topland MPC. To jump-start the implementation in June last year, P20-million wads were initially released.

At least 250 cassava farmers directly benefited from the enterprise when the project started last year.

The clusters aim to increase beneficiaries by 40 percent for each year of implementation.

“I am thankful to the strong leadership and partnership of the Department of Agriculture led by Secretary Proceso J. Alcala, the DA 12, headed by Regional Executive Director Amalia Jayag-Datukan, and the local government unit (LGU) of South Cotabato under Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes for making things happen,” Gerada said.

In a separate interview, Polo SNMPC Manager Karen Daguro said the tractors will be used to make land preparation of the existing 250-hectare cassava farm easier and more efficient, and expansion of their farm areas.

“The cassava granule-production project includes the construction of nursery for planting materials, acquisition and delivery of hauling  trucks, setting up truck scale, and postharvest and processing facilities such as granulators, mechanical chipper, solar dryer, warehouse and organic fertilizer plant,” Daguro said.

In November last year the first wave of farm inputs comprised of cassava granulators and chippers here was handed to the cluster members.

Daguro said they will soon turn over the trucks and additional moisture meters which are now ready for procurement.

The PRDP is a six-year government platform designed for an inclusive, value chain-oriented and climate-resilient agriculture and fisheries sector.

It will be implemented by the DA and jointly funded by the World Bank, and national government and LGUs.