Around 800 vegetable and coffee farmers are expected to benefit from the recent technology assistance in Talakag, Bukidnon made possible with the partnership of the Department of Science and Technology and the Local Government Unit of Talakag.
To minimize waste and stabilize prices in times of oversupply of vegetables and to provide farmers with a reliable source of income, DOST has recently turned over a vacuum packaging technology that enables the farmer-members of Balugto Hope Agroforestry Association Inc. These sets of machines will enable the farmers to produce value-added products with longer shelf life.
The equipment provided includes vegetable cutters, vacuum packaging machines, digital weighing scales, washers, and stainless steel tables, and more. The 250 farmer-members across the municipality are expected to benefit from this intervention.
The association aims to produce a variety of vegetable packs, such as chopseuy, pinakbet, and for pancit, which they plan to sell in the malls of Cagayan de Oro City.
During the turnover on February 21, 15 members were trained on the basic operation and maintenance of the newly turned-over machineries. DOST will also be training them on Good Manufacturing Practices and Food Safety.
The processing plant, a joint counterpart of the LGU and the beneficiary is currently being furnished to be compliant with the standards of the Food and Drug Administration, for the ease of their future License to Operate application.
The MILFACO (Miarayon–Lapok–Lirongan–Tinaytayan Tribal Association) Farmers Agriculture Cooperative and the Kinaiyahan Angay Natong Ampingan Para Sa Maayong Kaugmaon (Kanak), Inc. have also received their own coffee processing equipment to enhance the quality of their arabica coffee production. This initiative aims to improve the coffee processing methods of these organizations, leading to better coffee quality and increased profitability.
MILFACO has 532 coffee farmers, while KANAK Inc has 39 coffee farmer-members.
The coffee beans grown in the Pangantucan-Talakag area, situated around the foothills of Mt. Kalatungan, are renowned for their unique flavor, resulting in national recognition from the 2022 Philippine Coffee Quality Competition (PCQC).
DOST and LGU Talakag have also scheduled them for more product development programs to continuously improve local coffee production. Mayor Vergito O. Factura has expressed the LGU’s full support to these initiatives as these projects not only strengthen the coffee and vegetable industry but also benefits the farmers and their families, further strengthening the local economy.
DOST Bukidnon Provincial Director Ritchie Mae L. Guno is optimistic about the prospects of the organizations and foresees them becoming successful agripreneurs in the future.
“We want to see them become agripreneurs, that their profit increase and their quality of life improve”, she said. PD Guno also emphasized that the ownership of these interventions by the beneficiaries is crucial to achieving the agency’s vision of sustainable economic growth. (Jenifer O. Pancho / PSTO Bukidnon)