MATI CITY, Davao Oriental -- A famous pomelo fruit in the province was recognized as the Best Fresh Produce in the recently concluded 9th Agraryo Trade Fair (ATF) held at the SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City.

The Menzi pomelo fruits, known for its sweet taste, are produced by the Menzi Farmers Cooperative (Mefco), which started its operation in 1995 having the town of Mati as its first market area.

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Mefco received the Best Fresh Produce award from the Department of Agrarian Reform, which spearheaded the ATF that bannered this year's theme, "Umuunlad na Kabuhayan, Masaganang Sakahan Tugon sa Globalisasyon at Nagbabagong Klima."

Mefco chair Miguelito Angana said in an interview that this recognition will be an inspiration for them to work harder and to improve better as they plan to focus on formulating marketing strategies including attractive and saleable packaging.

Angana said the cooperative has applied appropriate pomelo technology with proper fertilization and monitoring as "part of our plan for market expansion."

"Slowly our market is reaching Davao, Cebu, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo, Iligan and Manila," he said.

He added that traders from these areas have directly bought volumes of pomelo fruits from the coop. They also have deliveries in Manila twice a year.

Angana said from its initial capital of P100,000, the Mefco is now earning a gross income, ranging from P300,000 to P400,000 per cropping. He said that the coop's net income is from P250,000 to P350,000.

Angana attributed this achievement to the cooperation of the farmers who work hard from land preparation to proper planting, accurate and suitable fertilization and close monitoring, in order to produce good quality pomelo fruits.

Meanwhile, Davao Oriental Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer Venchito Mandap extended his sincere congratulations to Mefco, encouraging the management and members to make the award an inspiration for them to produce more good quality pomelos.

"This will help increase their income and subsequently help the farmers uplift their way of living," he said.