By Lou Ellen L. Antonio

ILIGAN CITY, Sept. 10 (PIA ICCC) – Five farmer cooperatives from Marawi City, Piagapo and Butig, Lanao del Sur have undergone a Lakbay-aral (field trip) or benchmarking on abaca fiber processing spearheaded by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

These farmer cooperatives, which include Darul Khyre Farm Economic Development Producer Cooperative, Losod Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative, Mamaanun Bangsamoro Farm Producers Cooperative, Basak Farms Producer Cooperative and Al-Abrar Service Copperative  are beneficiaries of DTI’s Shared Service Facility (SSF) abaca processing.

The Lakbay-aral aims to provide the farmers with some learning on abaca processing with inputs from  the San Isidro Upland Farmers Multi-purpose Cooperative (SIUFMULCO) in Santiago, Agusan del Norte.

 “Nakita namin ang tunay na kasipagan ng inyong coop. Sana po kami na mga delegate ng aming coop maging gaya nang inyo,” said  Calimen Cadiran, one of the farmer beneficiaries,  after  learning the success story of the SIUFMULCO.

(We have seen the true hardwork of your cooperative. We hope that us delegates will become like you.)

The farmer cooperatives from Lanao del Sur who are beneficiaries of Department of Trade and Industry’s Shared Service Facility (SSF) abaca processing visit the site of abaca plantation of San Isidro Upland Farmers Multi-purpose Cooperative (SIUFMULCO) in Santiago, Agusan del Norte. (Photo by Lou Ellen Antonio)

The farmers also learned about the various ways of creating handicrafts out of abaca through the Abaca Handicraft Production and Training Center of the local government of Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte.

The Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA) provided a discussion on the improved abaca production.

Meanwhile, the Newtech Pulp Inc., on the other hand, introduced its coordination with cooperatives of abaca production and provided more insights on abaca fiber engagement.

“Hindi ko maexpress kung papano kami magpasalamat sa inyo, sa DTI, dahil nakita po namin na kayo po ay tumutulong sa amin. Napakahalaga po ito sa amin,” said Cairodin Caderan of Darul Khyre Farmer Producer Cooperative of Butig, Lanao del Sur.

(I cannot express my gratitude for DTI because we have seen how you have helped us. This is very important to us.)

The farmers also learned on the financial assistance that can be provided by the Landbank of the Philippines  (LBP) through loans.

These farmer cooperatives are in the process of receiving SSF on abaca fiber processing. (LEAntonio)