CABID-AN, SORSOGON CITY – Pineapple farmers in Sorsogon used to lose over 50 percent of their harvest because of oversupply. To resolve this problem, they decided to unite, organize an association and together, look for means to resolve their woes. Thus, the Casiguran Pineapple Growers Association (CPGA) was formed.
On September 11, 2018, the CPGA’s efforts paid off as the Department of Agriculture-Bicol through the High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) turned over a pineapple processing center worth three million pesos.
Rosita M. Imperial, chief of the Department of Agriculture Bicol Regulatory Division, and former HVCDP Regional Coordinator, explained that the pineapple such as the Formosa in Camarines Norte and Hawaiian in Sorsogon is one of the region’s priority commodities. DA-Bicol targeted 10 hectares of pineapple plantation for Casiguran and another 10 hectares in Castilla.
“It’s a blessing! Nalugi man kamo, nagkaigwa man kita ning processing facility. Dahil yun ang na-learn natin na sayang, nabulok lang. We try to think outside the box, na dae kita dapat magpundo dyan sa production, which is also our goal na ang farmer dae lang mag-stop duman sa farm, kaipuhan magluwas sa merkado and mag-level up. Go up the ladder of the value chain. Dahil sa gusto ta na magkaigwa ang farmer ning much much more added income, we will not stop from the farm alone.
Kaipuhan, with our farm, (you should) keep on striving and learn the technology. Kaipuhan ta din mag-level up,” Imperial said.
The Pineapple Processing Facility, which was established at the Regional Dairy Production and Technology Center in Cabid-an, Sorsogon City comes with a pineapple decorticating machine, fruit extractor machine, shredder machine, vacuum sealer and fruit dehydrator worth a total of P813,000. The CPGA will lead and supervise the commercial operations of the facility while the DA-Bicol through the Regional Dairy Production and Technology Center will provide the necessary technical, administrative and management mechanisms on its first year of operation.
“Malaking bagay po sa amin ang facility na ito hindi lang sa mga taga-Casiguran pati na rin sa mga neighboring municipalities dito na mayroon ding pineapple. Lahat ng possible na produktong mula sa pineapple, magagawa na namin dito. Mdali naming mapapataas ang value ng produkto naming pinya,” CPGA president Francisco De Castro said. The organization plans to engage in the production and manufacturing of pineapple candies, dried pineapple, dehydrated pineapple, pineapple juice, and pineapple chunks.
Jason Balbedina, CPGA Secretary and Operations Manager believes that the facility will help prolong the pineapple products’ shelf life in a way that the farmers can command the price. He also mentioned that the facility’s waste products can be used as feed stuff for the dairy cattle, hogs and small ruminants.
“With the support of various agencies, ang challenge samuya sa organisasyon is to really maximize every effort ng iba’t ibang agency na ma-avail mi ang tabang ninda. With us, kaipuhan ma—strategize mi kung anong mga support ini na nag-aarabot samuya ngonian dahil bihira lang mag-arabot ang oportunidad. This is the best time for us to really grab the opportunity and make use of it,” he said.
Aside from the DA-Bicol, CPGA is collaborating with other agencies like the Department of Trade and Industry, Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) for technical support.
The Department of Agriculture through the HVCDP provides postharvest facility to reduce postharvest losses and improve commodities’ value adding quality. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA-RAFIS 5)