DAR turns over abaca processing facility to Aklan farmers

The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) recently turned over the Village Level Processing Center for abaca fiber and other abaca by-products to the Aparicio Agrarian Reform Cooperative located in Aparicio, Ibajay, Aklan to capacitate the agrarian reform beneficiaries’ organizations (ARBOs) to profitably operate and manage their own enterprise.

DAR Western Visayas Regional Director Shiela Enciso said the total project cost amounted to PHP370,000.00, with the local government unit counterpart amounting to PHP70,000.00 and with the Village Level Farm-Focused Enterprise Development (VLFED) Project fund amounting to PHP300,000.00.

Enciso disclosed that a total of 659 members consisting of 153 ARBs and 506 non-ARBs will benefit from this project.

“Under the VLFED project, we want to enhance the products of farmers through the provision of appropriate facilities and equipment,” Enciso said.

She added that the complete rehabilitation of the processing center will provide livelihood opportunities to the rural women ARBs engaged in abaca fiber production.

“Today, the Aparicio Agrarian Reform Cooperative is actively pursuing the abaca fiber trading as their enterprise,” Enciso said.

She also disclosed that with the entry of Convergence on Livelihood Assistance for Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Project (CLAAP) in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the abaca fiber, which was originally used for making ropes and twines evolved its usefulness. It now comes with a variety of by-products, including the production of handicrafts such as bags, carpets, wallets, doormats, placemats, table runners, and various sizes of plant-holders, pots, and vases.

“With the rising demand for abaca fiber, it offers job opportunities to other young women, including their household members who are interested in the craft, which would result in an increase in their household income,” Enciso said.

She said the processing center was originally constructed thru the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) with a common goal of providing the men and women officers and members of Aparicio ARC comfortable area where they can do the abaca weaving.

“In the year 2021, the DAR thru the Village Level Farm Enterprise Development Project, the processing center for abaca fiber was targeted for rehabilitation,” Enciso said. (PR)