DA HVCDP supports NGO’s cause with P1.5M-worth Rootcrops Processing Facility

IRIGA CITY, CAMARINES SUR – “An paratanom, dapat may ambisyon. Daeng pag-asenso kung warang ambisyon (A farmer must have an ambition. Without ambition, there can be no progress).” This is the encouragement of Iriga City Councilor Jose Grimaldo Jr. to the farmer-beneficiaries who attended the inauguration and turn-over ceremony of the Rootcrops Processing Facility on June 29, 2018 at the Fatima Center Demo Farm in Brgy. San Andres, this city.

The P1.5 million-worth structure features a 10 x 12 meters building designed to promote value-adding activities, increase farmers’ income, and improve the health and nutrition of children that the Foundation of Our Lady of Fatima Center for Human Development (FaCe) has taken under its tutelage.

Rosita M. Imperial, chief of the Department of Agriculture Bicol Regulatory Division, led the ribbon-cutting ceremony together with Fatima Integrated Farm School Directress Aida S. Bagasina.

Imperial, who represented DA-Bicol Regional Executive Director Dr. Elena B. de los Santos and OIC Regional Technical Director Rodel P. Tornilla, shared her vision that more farmers will be transformed into agripreneurs through the Rootcrops Processing Facility. She added that the facility can also serve as a training venue for technology generation.

The Rootcrops Processing Facility package comes with P500,000-worth of equipment including multi-commodity solar tunnel dryer, multi-purpose grinder, ginger juice evaporator, roasters and foot sealer with cutter, funded under the DA-Bicol High Value Crops Development Program.

Currently, the 13-hectare farm is planted with rootcrops like cassava and sweet potato. The farmers also grow vegetables including eggplant, pechay, lettuce, radish, bitter gourd, and squash as well as fruits such as banana, lemon and pineapple.

About 59 farmers from Fatima Center, San Andres Farmers Association, and Mary Hill Tribal Settlement will benefit from the project. The FaCe is a non-government organization, ran by the Daughters of Saint Augustine in Iriga City, headed by Sr. Felicitas B. de Lima that provides shelter, education and better life for indigent children and adults. The institution engages in entrepreneurial activities and projects to sustain the human development needs of its beneficiaries. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA-RAFIS V)