THE Provincial Government of Negros Occidental vowed to provide more support to marang farmer-producers in the province, especially those in Barangay Colonia Divina in Sagay City, to help them improve their livelihood.
Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., who led the opening of the two-day 1st Marang Festival at the Capitol grounds in Bacolod City Friday, said the province is working on helping farmer-producers in terms of value-adding.
Marañon said that by value adding, residents will be equipped to produce more products using the abundant marang fruits as raw material.
“There are many uses of marang which is one of the most nutritious fruits thus, local producers should take it as an opportunity to improve their livelihood,” the governor added.
Marañon reiterated that the provincial government is working on linking local marang farmer-producers to various government agencies like the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Department of Science and Technology (DOST) for skills and product development trainings and technologies.
Aside from value-adding, the province is now taking steps in addressing huge disparity between the farm gate and market prices.
The governor had earlier said the P255-million worth of farm-to-market road project through the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) is already underway, which will connect Barangay Colonia Divina and other barangays to the markets in the city proper and other neighboring areas.
“We are also looking at bringing our products to Manila, wherein prices are really competitive than the local markets,” Marañon said, citing the P100 per kilo price of marang in Manila compared to only P10 in Barangay Colonia Divina.
The ongoing Marang Festival at the Capitol grounds is an offshoot of the same event held in Colonia Divina last September 1.
In Friday's kick-off activity, provincial government employees, students of Negros Occidental High School and members of the media joined different events like marang eating, relay, and catching contests.
Residents from 15 puroks of Colonia Divina through their respective marang-filled booths are also offering other locally-produced fruits as well as wide variety of by-products such as marang ensaymada, ice cream, tarts, spread, and pie.
“This is just the beginning, it will surely continue with more marang farmers not only of Colonia Divina but also of other producing-communities,” Marañon added.