THE Dalayapan Agrarian Reform Cooperative (Darco) in Cadiz City has unveiled its coffee shop business in Barangay Caduha-an in the northern Negros Occidental locality.
Named Café Darco, the coffee shop managed by the cooperative of 102 farmer-members was opened on Thursday, May 9.
The coffee shop sits within the cooperative's proposed 20-hectare ecopark, which is now on its developmental stage.
Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer I Milagros Flores, who spoke at the opening rites, said the ecopark is seen to start operating most probably next year.
Flores said the amenities of the proposed Dalayapan Ecopark includes campgrounds, spring pool and other recreational facilities.
“The ecopark is included in the cooperative's developmental plan,” she said, adding that Darco is a pride of the agency and the city government.
Since it was organized in 2012, the cooperative has been assisted by the Department of Agrarian Reform and other government agencies.
Caduha-an Village Chairman Mamerto Javier Sr. commended the cooperative in terms of its growth and development as an organization.
“Brighter future is ahead for the cooperative,” he added.
For Luisa Tutor, senior environment management specialist of the Provincial Environment Management Office, a promising future awaits the cooperative for venturing on projects that will provide them sustainable livelihood.
Tutor said they hope that Darco will take good care of the abundant natural resources entrusted to them.
Also present during the activity are Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino and Cadiz City Mayor Patrick Escalante.
As he applauded the cooperative for such a “breakthrough” achievement, Masculino expressed hope that the proposed Dalayapan Ecopark positions itself as an agri-tourism site.
“National and local agencies will surely help the cooperative to achieve its goals including the ecopark development,” he added.
Escalante also assured of the local government's support to the cooperative in realizing its vision of making its site as a tourist destination.
The mayor believed that the cooperative has not reach its full potential yet, and that there's more to look forward to.
“The cooperative should not solely rely on sugarcane, they must opt to diversify on other high-value crops like banana and cacao,” Escalante added.
Café Darco serves a variety of coffee choices, coffee-related drinks and native delicacies.
Open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. everyday, it offers customers a coffee drinking experience while enjoying a good view of the nature.
For his part, Darco Farm Manager Dominador Alave Jr. thanked those who have supported the cooperative.
“At first, it's hard to believe that we can achieve greater heights of success in our journey as agrarian reform beneficiaries. But it's happening now,” he added. (EPN)