Bukidnon town to put rubber plantation

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Monday, August 18, 2014


THOUSANDS of residents in the municipality of Impasug-ong, Bukidnon, will soon find permanent income in the rubber plantation that the local government will establish with the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).

DBP approved on August 5 the P100.5 million loan to finance the rubber plantation project of the Impasug-ong LGU covering 1,500 hectares.

Neogen M. Chaves, DBP senior assistant vice president and head Regional Marketing Center for northern Mindanao, said the proposed rubber plantation aims to improve the farmers’ quality of life, encourage them to be active participants of the project to achieve sustainable household income.

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“This project was proposed by the late Mayor Mario Okinlay, an endeavor for his constituents in the 13 barangays who are the beneficiaries of the project, following the principle of inclusive growth,” Chaves said.

Okinlay was killed when ambushed allegedly by the New People’s Army on July 2 this year.

DBP said that the project would be in three phases at 500 hectares each phase.

The project beneficiaries would be selected and certified as qualified farmers belonging to the poorest of the poor as recorded by the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office and Municipal Planning and Development Office, and own one hectare of land and have not been beneficiaries of any government–funded livelihood program.

Based on the loan agreement, Impasug-ong LGU will procure rubber tree seedlings, fertilizers, chemicals, and initial tools and harvesting equipment and provide technical and marketing assistance to start up the plantation.

“These inputs will be payable annually by the farmers starting on the sixth year without interest and the repayment scheme would be 15 percent of the cost per hectare and 20 percent on the second to the fourth payments, and 25 percent on the fifth repayment,” DBP said.

Chaves said the farmers will not receive cash, instead the LGU will provide them the “food for work” equivalent to sacks of rice as payment for their labor.

The LGU will also serve as consolidator of the cup lumps or collected tapped rubber, outlined in a memorandum of agreement between the LGU and the farmers to sell all their production only to the municipal government.

DBP said that to avoid pole-vaulting, the farmers would be clustered, composed of five to 10 members with an appointed leader and assigned barangay kagawad to monitor the flow of the rubber production. Each cluster will also serve as a consolidation area.

The rationale of the project, aside from helping the farmers with a livelihood, would be to utilize open and idle lands, thus making them productive and at the same time promote ecological balance; and support the government’s thrust to increase the production of natural rubber and augment the supply requirement for local and foreign consumption.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 18, 2014.

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