THE Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp) implementing agencies have conceptualized a training package and convergence in the form of the Small and Medium Enterprise–Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Training (SME-Cart) Marathon.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Provincial Director Rolando Acuña said the training package and convergence is aimed to maximize the various livelihood programs initiated by the different Carp implementing agencies and non-government organizations.

It was also created to efficiently utilize the available resources and develop sustainable enterprises within the Agrarian Reform Communities.

Aside from the DTI, the Carp implementing agencies include the departments of agrarian reform, science and technology, agriculture, environment, labor and employment, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

Acuña said the Phase I of the SME-Cart Marathon will be completed this month. It commenced last April.

He said various Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs), cooperatives, and associations from the villages of Patalon, Lumayang, and Buenavista, Zamboanga City, and Latuan, Isabela City benefited from trainings and workshops.

He said the trainings delved into subjects such as coconut food and non-food processing opportunities, business opportunity, abaca business venture agri-tourism opportunity, rubber diversification and intensification, cassava productivity and quality management, marketing plan development, agri-productivity, fish processing, cassava chips enhancement, productive abaca farming, and fibercrafts processing.

The Phase II of the SME-Cart Marathon will begin on Wednesday until Thursday in Isabela City where a seminar on business opportunity and meat processing enhancement will be conducted.

Thereafter, Acuña said skills training on coconut handicraft and furniture production will be held on July 6-8 and another skills training on sukang pinakurat (spicy vinegar) and coconut flour on July 9-10 in the village of Patalon, Zamboanga City.

He said a strategic planning for the ARBs in the village of Lumayang, Zamboanga City will be held from July 16-17.

The SME-Cart Marathon will then proceed to the village of Menzi, Isabela City for the conduct of a coffee and black pepper post-harvest improvement seminar from July 21-22, he added.

Acuna said that a seminar on pricing and costing for the ARBS, cooperatives, and associations of Buenavista villages will also be organized. (Bong Garcia)