Study: Postharvest projects most viable livelihood-A A +A
Sunday, February 17, 2013
A WORLD Bank (WB) quality review study for the Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP) revealed that pre- and post-harvest facilities are the most viable livelihood projects.
Felizardo Virtucio, WB task team leader for MRDP, said postharvest facilities surfaced as the most viable livelihood as these provided farmers immediate income.
The quality review study aims to quantify incidences of quality control slippages in MRDP rural infrastructure and livelihood projects. It also aims to establish necessary interventions to improve project viability.
MRDP is a special project implemented by the Department of Agriculture (DA) and jointly funded by the World Bank, the National Government, and the local government units (LGUs). The project, which supposedly ended last year, was granted a two-year extension to continue implement and monitor project across Mindanao.
The study also revealed that next to postharvest facilities, food processing is viable as this could also provide farmers particularly rural women immediate income.
On the other hand, livestock and poultry projects were observed to provide minimal income as they are usually prone to diseases and animal stress.
"Fish projects were observed to be least viable as fishing activities are subjected to weather vagaries," Virtucio said.
MRDP program director Lealyn Ramos said the program, along with its consultation with beneficiaries, has identified postharvest facilities as one of the livelihood projects to be funded to help small farmers improve their product.
"Adequate postharvest facilities will not only reduce losses and improve quality of produce but will also help farmers establish their own farm-level value- added processing business," Ramos said.
Citing the experience of postharvest beneficiaries in in Banga, South Cotabato, Ramos said farmers are now processing cassava into chips and pellets and regularly supplies a leading animal feeds manufacturer in General Santos City.
"After availing themselves of a P3.5 million postharvest facilities such as solar and flatbed dryers, chipper, granulator, and truck scale, the farmers' co-op did not only reduce losses but also boosted their confidence to meet the required quality and volume paving the way for them to forge a marketing agreement with a private company," Ramos said.
Another viable postharvest assistance provided by the program is the "sago" flour-processing center in Veruela, Agusan del Sur where Manobo farmers are producing flour from sago palm.
"The Kasamacor (Kayumbyahan Sago Manobo Corporation) was able to access P5 million to expand their sago flour processing. The said amount provided the co-op additional machine to hasten stripping and milling of sago flour and for the construction of a bigger drying facility," Ramos added.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 18, 2013.