The Philippine Rural Development Project’s (PRDP) Regional Project Advisory Board (RPAB) in Eastern Visayas endorsed for funding support the proposed Coco Geonet Processing and Trading Enterprise of Northern Samar, and the Banana Production and Trading Enterprise of Samar in its meeting held at the Leyte Park Resort Hotel, Tacloban City on September 20, 2016.

“These enterprise subprojects were found to be viable by the RPAB and beneficial in terms of raising the income levels of our farmers and in opening up employment opportunities,” said Regional Executive Director Wilson A. Cerbito of the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office VIII.

“We feel glad about this since the Samar Island is our priority in terms of agricultural development. These enterprise subprojects will form part of our assistance to help reduce the poverty situation in these (Samar) provinces,” Director Cerbito enthused.

The RPAB reviews and approves subprojects for funding under the PRDP.

The proposed subprojects have a total investment cost of PhP22.8 million. The coco geonets subproject requires PhP8.7 million, which will primarily be used for the needed infrastructure facility, transport vehicles, and machinery/equipment.

According to Mr. Ferdinand T. Luzon, Chair of Aksyon Kalinga para sa Masa (AKMA), the subproject’s proponent group, they want to take advantage of the availability of local buyers for coco geonets and coco peat. “The demand is high such that we are determined to really improve our production. We want to see ourselves become a key player in the industry and help more farmers at least in the province of Northern Samar,” he remarked.

Mr. Luzon also mentioned that they have already established a warehouse facility in San Jose, Northern Samar which now serves as their central buying and decorticating station for geonets. Four multipurpose livelihood enterprise sheds are intended to be established in strategic areas to be able to cover more municipalities. The subproject, once implemented, is expected to directly benefit the municipalities of Rosario, Lavezares, Allen, San Jose, Bobon, Catarman, Mondragon, San Roque, Pambujan, and Laoang – all in Northern Samar.

A relatively higher budget of PhP14.1 million is allocated for the banana cardava enterprise subproject in the province of Samar since the proponent still needs to put up its own trading center and strengthen its production base by developing an area of as much as 175 hectares. Once approved, the subproject will initially cover the municipalities of Marabut, Basey, Sta. Rita, Talalora, Villareal, Daram, and Pinabacdao, with a trading center to be established in Brgy. Madalunot in Pinabacdao.