SAN AGUSTIN, PILI, CAMARINES SUR – The Agriculture Cooperative of Tigaon (ACT) based in Tigaon, Camarines Sur recently received a P1.9M refrigerated van, one component of the project entitled “Marketing Logistics Support for Inclusive Food Supply Chain” being implemented by the DA-AMAS nationwide and AMAD in the regions under the One DA Reform Agenda.

DA Bicol Regional Executive Director Rodel P. Tornilla and Adelina A. Losa, Chief of the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD) said that this project  will increase the participation of farmers in the food supply chain and expand their consolidation activities. “Giving small farmers/fishers access to logistics and transport services will remedy the major constraint in marketing their produce,” Losa said.

Losa added that the project also aims to reduce postharvest losses of agri-fishery products during transport by using appropriate vehicle; increase mobility in the delivery of products; maintain quality of transported products; comply with Food Safety Law on safe handling of products during transport.

The Agriculture Cooperative of Tigaon (ACT) is currently engaged in dairy processing. The ACT has leased an area of 22has. as the communal-based dairy farm situated at Tinorongan, Sagñay, Camarines Sur. They are operating the Dairy Processing Plant located at Pelham Farm, San Antonio, Tigaon, Camarines sur and their milk products are processed supplied in the Milk Feeding Programs of the government. ACT Chairperson Dr. Lydia Mapua said that the coop started producing fresh cow’s milk in June 2020 when the coop received 27 dairy cows of Holstein-Jersey breed from the National Dairy Authority (NDA).

Organized on July 8, 2016, the Agriculture Coop of Tigaon (ACT) is now composed of 97 members, most of whom are farmers of Tigaon, Ocampo, Pili, Goa, Sagñay and Lagonoy, Camarines Sur.

Jasmin Cueto, Secretary and Project Manager said that in December 2020, the coop was commissioned by the Department of Education (DepEd) Division Office of Camarines Sur to supply the fresh milk requirement of  public elementary schools in the 4th Congressional District of the province or Partido Area. Under the program entitled School-Based Milk Feeding Program (SBFP) for 2019, the  ACT will supply fresh milk to 22,157 children for 20 days starting from January 18, 2021 until April 7, 2021. The project is in collaboration with the National Dairy Authority (NDA).

“Kapag kumukuha ang parents ng modules from the teachers, kasabay na nilang kinukuha ang fresh milk para sa mg anak nila during Mondays and Wednesdays,” Cueto said.

At present, the Pelham farm produces 880 liters milk and pasteurizes about 9,900 liters of milk and other ingredients every week to sustain the feeding program.

The SBFP (2020 Budget) implementation will commence this September 2021, of which ACT committed to supply to 4,790 grade school students of the Goa, Camarines Sur School District. Comes SBFP (2021 Budget), ACT committed to supply pasteurized milk to 31,260 grade school students of the 4th Congressional District for 33 feedings days.

The National Dairy Authority, one of the attached agencies of DA is mandated to implement the National Milk Program to alleviate children from poverty and malnutrition while providing steady income to local dairy farmers and cooperatives.

“Nagpapasalamat po kami nang marami sa Department of Agriculture sa natanggap naming dairy cows sa National Dairy Authority at sa DA Bicol kay Regional Executive Director Rodel P. Tornilla sa naibigay po sa amin na Village-Type Feedmill at ngayon po ay itong refrigerated van,” Engr. Raul Carerras, Vice-Chair of ACT enthused.

Adelina A. Losa, chief of the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD) In Bicol said that five farmers associations have been beneficiaries of the “Marketing Logistics Support for Inclusive Food Supply Chain,” namely:  Ambos Camarines Agriculture Coop; Farmers Field School Palayamanan Farmers Association; The Agriplanters and Food Processors Association of Tigaon; Saradit na Kristiyanong Komunidad Farmers Association; and the Agriculture Coop of Tigaon.  (Lovella P. Guarin) (Photos by Vincent Emil Pasumbal and ACT)