By Grace Bondad Nicolas
Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Provincial Officer Glenn Quidayan recently discussed at the regional office of the Philippine Information Agency the importance of cooperatives in the community. As part of a new Memorandum of Agreement, DAR provided Coco Coir machines to the The Imok ARC Women and Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (IARCWFMPC cooperative) in Barangay Imok at Calauan for its Coco Coir Processing Project.
With a population of less than 600 families and voting population of less than 200, Barangay Imok is the highest point in the municipality of Calauan, with farming as the main source of income. This place is a Special Agrarian Reform Community (SARC), specially classified as a Peace Development Zone.
Quidayan explained that the cooperative will be trained in coco coir processing, so that its members will be prepared to start an agri-business enterprise on their own. Right now, the cooperative is producing tons of products and they have a direct person marketing the output. This is a first in the municipality.
The cooperative continues to produce brooms for the cooperative, and the new DAR MoA has given them another avenue for the future of their children. The majority of the barangay population is poor, but because of the cooperative, they have a viable source of income.
The products that have since been made from coir dust are alternatives for plastics, which are not advisable for use nowadays because of their long-term decomposition and the hazards they present to our environment. Among the products produced by the cooperative are coco pots, coco twine, Christmas ornaments, and coco log sheets, all made of coconut coir dust. Nothing in the process is wasted, from the raw materials to the finished products, so this is also an eco-friendly livelihood program for the cooperative.
Presently, the cooperative is looking for sponsors for the flooring they need for the production site, and if possible an extension of the roof for the stock in order to improve the production and storage facilities they use.
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