By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
The government and the private sector have linked arms to help banana farmers in Oriental Mindoro enhance their farm management skill and raise their level of competitiveness in the global market.
Under the Linking Smallholder Farmers to Markets (LinkSFarM) project, Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer Marilou Baslan said the farmers will be assisted in improving the quality of their products and meeting volume requirements.
These two factors are considered as the first steps in attaining global success.
Groups joining the cause are the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and local agricultural officers, together with the San Miguel Foods Corporation (SMFC) and the Bahaghari Global Food, Inc. (BGFI).
“We are happy for the positive response to our call for support in sustaining the initial gains of the Linking Smallholder Farmers to Markets project, which seeks to achieve sustainability, expansion and diversification,” Baslan said.
She also said the project takes into account cluster formation, preparing the cluster supply plan, market chain study for actual collection, and marketing of banana of the saba variety.
Each participant shared essential information and assistance to the farmer-beneficiaries of the LinkSFarm project.
SMFC representative Ben Brosales presented the cassava assembler program for the farmers for project diversification.
Meanwhile, Maria Eliza Paylago of BGFI, exporter of banana chips, discussed their market requirements with the assisted farmers.
DOST representative Maria Cristina Caringal said new technology for banana production would be shared with the farmers to improve the quality and increase the volume of their harvests.
TESDA Provincial Director Edwin Andoyo, for his part, expressed his support in promoting agro-entrepreneurship to make farmers globally competitive.