Three local government units in the SOCCSKSARGEN region have proposed a combined P81-million worth of enterprise development projects for a cassava granules production under the Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP), agriculture officials said Tuesday.


Amalia Jayag-Datukan, DA-12 regional executive director, said of the three LGUs that proposed the project, South Cotabato was eyeing a P36-million for cassava granules production while Saranggani, with Sarangani province proposed for a P30-million project focused on producing virgin coconut oil (VCO) with the business plan still being finalized.

North Cotabato province, on the other hand, is also finalizing their business plan of their P15-M rubber sheets production project.

PRDP, which is the expanded version of the Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP) is a six-year program designed to establish government platforms for medium, climate-smart and market-oriented agriculture and fishery sectors.

The program also aims to re-strengthen the partnership with the local government units and the rural sectors by providing them key infrastructure projects, farm facilities, modern farming technologies that will raise farmers' income and will escalate productivity of different agri-fishery industries.

Datukan said together with proponent groups, South Cotabato presented its business plan for cassava granules in a finalization workshop held recently in Davao City.

The proposed cassava granules production project will cost P36 million with a ready target market for the products.

According to data from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics in 2012, cassava farmers in South Cotabato have registered the highest yield per hectare in the country, averaging 34.51 metric tons yield per hectare.

"South Cotabato identified cassava as a priority commodity which will be supported under PRDP's enterprise development component," said Datukan.

Director Datukan added that coming up with business developments plans (BDP) would help determine which viable enterprises are going to be supported under the Investments in Rural Enterprises and Agriculture and Fisheries Productivity (I-REAP) component.

I-REAP aims to elevate agricultural production into the next levels of value chain by installing production and market support facilities.

Arnel de Mesa, MRDP program director, underscored the significance of business plans as management tools for the proponent groups in the implementation of the I-REAP component.

The proponent groups are composed of cooperatives and people's organizations that will carry-out the project in their respective provinces.
Proposed enterprises that qualify for I-REAP support are those that directly require production and productivity enhancement in crops, livestock, fishery and natural resources management.

The component will also support projects that will require technology and market development support. These investments will be in the form of agriculture extension services, training for farmers and fisher households, and research and development, among others.

Eyeing commercial scale feed mills as target market, the proposed cassava granules production project is expected to benefit cassava farmers of seven cooperatives covering ten municipalities of South Cotabato.

As a pilot province in Region 12, South Cotabato had also prepared development projects for coffee and cacao aside from cassava under the six-year World Bank-supported program of the DA.

Funding sources for proposed enterprises under the I-REAP component will come from the World Bank and the national government with equity from the provincial government and proponent group.