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The Department of Agriculture (DA) urged cashew farmers to organize themselves into a cooperative in a bid to increase their income, and become processors and exporters of cashew processed products.
Regional Executive Director Antonio Gerundio of DA-MIMAROPA told barangay officials, cashew farmers, and other stakeholders of Barangay Marayugon, Lukbuan and Buenavista on Wednesday during a training at A&A Plaza Hotel, that cashew farmers’ income is only at P40 per kilo based on the farmgate price of cashew seeds.
He explained that if the cashew farmer will also engage in value-adding or processing of cashew, his income will not be only limited to P40 pesos per kilo of cashew seeds but at P200 per kilo of processed cashew nuts. Some three kilos of cashew seeds will yield one kilo of processed cashew nuts.
“Kung sa kasoy, hindi lang dapat kayo ang producer. Dapat kayo na rin ang nagbibiyak, nagro-roasting, at nag-eempake, kung hindi kaya ng farmer, gawin nyo as a group. Organize yourselves into a farmers’ cooperative. Ito ay pamamaraan ng gobyerno para magkaroon ng kaunlaran sa kanayunan. At kung may kooperatiba na nag-market nito (cashew processed products) ay mas lalaki ang kita nito,” he said.
Director Gerundio explained that the farmers’ cooperative can easily generate the volume of raw materials and will process the cashew seeds to add value to the product. He advised farmers to do away with the old practice of being individualistic, but rather help each other as a group.
He said that the national government, through government banks or through their agency can help finance cashew processing plant, if it is run and managed by a legitimate farmers’ cooperative.
“Hindi pwede dito ang kanya-kanya. Kasi kung kanya-kanya hindi maka-penetrate ng malaking merkado. We will develop our own processing center and have our own market. Volume is power in the market.Yan ang gusto nating maabot. Meron tayong DBP, LBP, o mismo sa DA, baka pwede nating mahingian ng pondo para sa processing plant,” he further said.
The cashew farmers and processors cooperative should also have its marketing arm who will establish trade links to Manila or even to neighboring Asian countries.
Director Gerundio said that India and Vietnam are major producers of processed cashew products, despite the fact that they do not have cashew plantations in their countries, but rather they only processed cashew seeds from Africa.
“Ang Vietnam at India ay sikat sila kasi modernized ang kanilang processing facilities sa kasoy. Pero mula sa Africa ang cashew seeds nila, sila lang yung processor. Kaya gustong-gusto ng Vietnam na bibilhin ang cashew seeds natin,” he said.
Gerundio reminded the cashew farmers to consider their farming endeavor as a business, by managing it well, record every transaction, and do good planning to make his farming improve, therefore, increasing their income.