The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has distributed P12.9 million worth of seedlings and fertilizers to raise the productivity and income of 1,195 rubber farmers in North Cotabato.
The agricultural inputs were part of the Agricultural Production Intensification and Expansion of Agro-Forestry and Agribusiness Crops Program under the three sub-projects of the DAR Mindanao Sustainable Agrarian and Agriculture Development (MinSAAD) Project.
“These three sub-projects include the rubber production, processing, and marketing; the coffee production, processing and marketing; and the cacao production, processing and marketing which were implemented in 15 barangays of Banisilan,” North Cotabato Provincial Agrarian Reform Provincial Officer Reynaldo Anfone said.
He said some 166,400 rubber seedlings; 240,000 coffee seedlings; 120,000 cacao seedlings; and 1,600 sacks of fertilizers were turned over to different DAR-assisted organizations in Banisilan on July 22.
“We are looking forward to an additional 400 hectares for rubber, 400 hectares for coffee, and 200 hectares for cacao to be planted with these seedlings. Making an additional 1000 hectares productive, we are expecting that farmers in Banisilan will increase their productivity and income to uplift their lives from poverty,” he added.
According to George Molina of the Banisilan Rubber Farmers Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative, more of its members will be able to expand their production areas using the rubber processing plant provided to them.
He expressed hope for a huge volume of rubber cup lumps to be supplied for the sustainable operations of the processing plant through the full support and intervention of the municipal and provincial governments and DAR.
With the project, the cooperative is expecting to obtain a good price for their rubber products that will eventually increase their profitability and improve the quality of living of the farmers in Banisilan.