DOST extends aid to abaca, local dairy farmers in Northern Mindanao

Published October 9, 2021, 3:42 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has extended assistance to abaca and local dairy farmers in Northern Mindanao.

DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña (PCOO/MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña said DOST-X, through its Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology (CEST) program is set to provide abaca spindle stripping machine and platform scale as well as 2,000 pieces of abaca seedlings to Subanen abaca farmers of San Lorenzo Ruiz Farmers Organization Inc., (SALORUZFAO).

He said the farmers will be trained on sustainable abaca production through the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (DA-PhilFIDA).

The aid is estimated to increase the income of the 22 farmer-beneficiaries by as much as P195,000 each.

“The SALORUZFAO has a 22-hectare abaca plantation which assures raw material sustainability. Among their target markets are the New Tech Pulp Inc. in Iligan City and two other companies in Tudela, Misamis Occidental,” de la Peña noted.

San Lorenzo Ruiz is a geographically isolated and disadvantaged area (GIDA) and End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) community in Sinacaban, Misamis Occidental.

Meanwhile, de la Peña reported that science and technology (S&T) assistance has also been extended to Sentro sa Maayong Magbalantay, Inc. (SMMI), a women-led non-profit organization in Iligan City.

The aid which is provided under the agency’s CEST program significantly improves SMMI’s dairy facility and products.

“Through the collaborative partnership of DOST and LGU Iligan City, the association, SMMI will receive food-grade, cost-efficient and fully mechanized equipment for ensuring the production of the best and safest quality fresh milk,” the DOST chief said.

He said the DOST-X will also be assisting the SMMI in the packaging of bottled fresh and flavored milk adhering to FDA (Food and Drug Administration) standards and other consultancy services.

It was noted that before DOST’s intervention, the group relied on hand milking, a process that is time-consuming and raises concerns on food safety.

SMMI has 30 active small scale dairy farmer-members.