PRDP-funded abaca warehouses to rise in Catanduanes

VIRAC, CATANDUANES — Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) will establish two abaca warehouses in Bato and Viga, Catanduanes. This is with the Project’s issuance of No Objection Letter 2 (NOL 2) for the P5.95 million-worth construction of the main and satellite abaca warehouse in Brgy. Sipi Bato and Brgy. San Pedro Viga on April 17, 2018.

In a Pre-Construction Conference conducted on April 25, 2018, this province, PRDP Project Support Office South Luzon Procurement Unit Head Michael Gregory Vargas congratulated the Provincial Project Management Implementation Unit (PPMIU) of Catanduanes, its proponent group, the Pinoy Lingap-Damayan Multi-Purpose Cooperative (PLDC) and the winning contractor, JR Contractor for the said milestone after three years of Abaca Fiber Processing and Trading Enterprise dry-run operations.

The 392-square meter main warehouse to be established in Brgy. Sipi Bato has an estimated capacity of 100 metric tons at a given time and projected average annual production of 1,881 metric tons. It will serve as the main processing center and covers 96 barangays. The facility will benefit 2,289 abaca farmer-members from Gigmoto, Baras, San Miguel, Bato, Virac and San Andres.

Meanwhile, the 90-square meter satellite station 1 to be located in Brgy. San Pedro Viga, Catanduanes has an estimated capacity of 30 metric tons at a given time. The facility will be used for consolidation, grading and baling of fiber from Viga, Panganiban and Bagamanoc. It is also designed to accommodate 16,666.67 kilograms of fiber production weekly from 1,194 abaca-farmer members from Bagamanoc, Panganiban and Viga.

According to Joson, the construction of these abaca warehouses will facilitate fiber collection from remote areas in Catanduanes prior to delivery to buying stations in Virac, Catanduanes every Monday and Thursday.

“Yung binibili naming mga abaca fiber kaya na naming i-accommodate. Mas gaganda yung service namin sa mga abaca farmers at saka yung quality ng abaca gaganda hindi babagsak, kasi kapag dineliver yung abaca tapos maliit yung bodega, nagkakaroon ng moist ang abaca, nada-downgrade ito at bababa ang presyo (We can now accommodate more abaca fiber. This will enhance our service for the abaca farmers and will boost the quality of abaca. Storing them in small facilities increases the moisture of abaca fiber which downgrades its quality and reduces its price),” he said.

Members of the PPMIU, Provincial Administrator Lemuel Surtida, Maria Ana Tacorda, representative of JR Contractor, and PLDC Operations Manager Ronnie Vic Joson attended the Pre-Construction Conference for the construction of the two warehouses. The PRDP PSO South Luzon and PRDP-Bicol team oriented them about the contract and contract document, financial management and billing as well as Social and Environmental Safeguards and Geomapping and Governance Unit compliances. Project stakeholders were also briefed about the infrastructure development (I-BUILD) guidelines, Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP), and the PPMIU project supervision team.

The P10.21 million-worth Abaca Fiber Processing and Trading Enterprise in Virac, Catanduanes is an I-REAP subproject that will engage in abaca fiber processing and trading. It will also include trading of bacbac or dried leafsheaths of abaca plant and abaca wastes. The enterprise will be implemented by the PLDC with funding and technical assistance from the PRDP and the Provincial Government of Catanduanes.

PRDP is a six-year development project being implemented by the Department of Agriculture aimed at establishing a modern, inclusive, value chain-oriented and climate-resilient agri-fishery sector in the countryside. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA-RAFIS V)