By: Roi Lomotan
NEGROS ORIENTAL (PIA) – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) here handed over units of coco fiber processing equipment to two coconut farmer cooperatives in Bacong and Zamboanguita towns recently.
DTI distributed last March 26 200 units of twining machines, 40 units of handheld weaving equipment and three units of handlooms from to Bacong Small Coconut Farmer Development Cooperative (BASCOFADCO) while another set of equipment composed of 100 units of twining machines, 50 units of handheld weaving equipment and four units of handlooms were given to Zamboanguita Small Coconut Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (ZASCOFAMCO).
The distribution of the coco fiber equipment is part of DTI’s Shared Service Facility (SSF) Program for coconut farmers in the province. The launching and handover ceremony of these machines took place in BASCOFADCO site in Combado, Bacong and in the municipal gym of Zamboanguita.
Said equipment will help coconut growers produce coirs or long sturdy ropes made from coconut husks when woven together make a strong geo nets which are effective in controlling soil erosion.
DTI-7 regional director Asteria Caberte said coconut farmers will highly benefit from the program especially now that DTI is coordinating with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for possible partnership in providing supply of geo nets for the latter’s rehabilitation projects in the Bohol and in Leyte which were heavily devastated by recent natural calamities.
“The good news is the geo nets that will come out from these two projects in Negros Oriental, we will use them to the rehabilitation projects in Bohol and hopefully in Leyte. We will use the geo nets for their landslide prone areas,” Caberte said.
She added that apart from the DPWH, the DTI is also linking with the Australian Aid, an organization that signified its intent to help the government in its rehabilitation programs to places battered by natural disasters for an increased demand of geo nets.
Through the help of these machines coconut growers will have another alternative product to usual coconut products.
The SSF project for coconut farmers is supported by NegOr 3rd District Rep. Pryde Henry Teves and Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA-7) Manager Dennis Andres.
“I will push for the use of coco coir in other flood control projects of DPWH so that you can earn livelihood from the coco coir you are making,” Rep. Teves said in local dialect.
Andres on the other hand said PCA will also handover decorticating machines so that it will be easier for coco coir makers to strip coconut husks.
Caberte said the coco fiber processing equipment will open 600 job opportunities in Bacong and 450 jobs opportunities in Zamboanguita.
Furthermore, prevailing market price per roll of 50 meters of coco coir is at P2,500.
The SSF project is the DTI’s response to President Aquino’s call for inclusive growth through continuous job creation. (mnbcn/RAL/PIA7-NEGOR )