TWO agricultural cooperatives from the Zamboanga Peninsula Region in southwestern Philippines are preparing to venture into cacao and banana processing with support from the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP).
Members of Nanan Multi-Purpose Cooperative and Dimataling Kalipi Federated Association visited cooperatives in Davao Region last week to learn about best practices in management and operations for export-quality products.
The benchmarking activity is in line with the Department of Agriculture’s “big brother” scheme wherein cooperatives are partnered with more experienced counterparts for knowledge sharing, PRDP said in a press release.
Nanan’s big brother was the Biao Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-purpose Cooperative (BARBCO) in Davao City, which was also a beneficiary of the World Bank-funded PRDP program.
BARBCO, which already has a post-harvest facility that can process 120 tons of dry fermented beans per year, makes cacao mass or tablea, cacao nibs, and chocolate products.
With its trademark Cacao de Biao, BARBCO won a gold award in the 2021 Edition of the Cocoa Excellence Programme in Paris. The cooperative also produces coffee beans.
For the Dimataling Kalipi group, their big brother was the Fairtrade Farmers Coconut Multi-purpose Cooperative (FFCC) in Davao del Sur, which completed its PRDP-backed organic banana chips project in June 2021.
FFCC’s banana chips are already certified under standards set by Japan, the European Union, and United States.
“With these (certifications), they now have access to high-end markets for their products and raw materials bought from local sources, which in turn are helping local farmers expand their livelihood,” PRDP said. — MSJ