LTA Foods Manufacturing has recently sealed a marketing agreement with a group of banana farmers in North Cotabato.
With a sure buyer in LTA Foods, the farmers are expected to generate more income from their cardava banana production. Locally known as saba, cardava is a triploid hybrid banana cultivar originating from the Philippines. It is primarily a cooking banana but it can also be eaten raw. It is commonly used to make banana cue or turon, but it is sometimes processed into banana chips.
The undertaking is a partnership between the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to fast-track the commercialization of smallholder farmers’ products in the area.
Evangeline Bueno, Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II, said the DAR is continuously looking for steady markets for the agrarian reform beneficiaries’ (ARBs) agricultural products and helps their organizations in acquiring marketing contracts for a secure and sustainable market of their produce.
“The forging of marketing agreement was made possible through the Rural Agro-Industrial Partnership for Inclusive Development and Growth of DTI,” she said in a statement.
The 11 recipient DAR-assisted ARB organizations in the various towns of the province include: Upper Pacao Farmers Association, Paruayan Agrarian Reform Beneficiary Organization, Camansi Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association, and Malitubog ARB Organization of Alamada; Kitubod Farmers Association, and Kiloyao Consortium of MRDP-CFAD Beneficiaries Association of Libungan; Kimagango Farmers Association of Midsayap; Bato Farmers Association of Makilala; Lawili Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative of Aleosan; New Alimodian Integrated FA of Matalam; and Kisupaan Agrarian Reform Organization of Pres. Roxas.
At the signing ceremony, Walter Calibara, president of Camansi Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association, thanked the DAR and DTI and acknowledged the positive impact of the initiative.
“We are thankful for this opportunity to be linked to a bigger market. It would really benefit us farmers because we are assured of a good price and we can minimize the transportation expenses since our products will be picked up in our area,” he said. Calibara said they look forward to more opportunities that the partnership would bring to the farmers.
LTA Foods Manufacturing Quality Assurance Manager Wilfred Abenza said they are not only committed to helping the farmers buy their produce at a competitive price, but they will also provide technical assistance to improve the quality of their produce.
“Through this partnership, we also intend to optimize and enhance the quality of cardava bananas by educating them to improve their yield,” Abenza said.
The signing of the marketing partnership agreement was attended by the top officials and employees of DAR and DTI in the Soccsksargen region.