David Lagrada is one of the members of the Roxas Seed Growers Multi-Purpose Cooperative and beneficiaries of the “Palawan Cashew Processing Center” subproject to be funded by PRDP. He is a small-time cashew grower who owns one hectare of cashew plantation. (Photo by Leira Vic Colongon, DA-PRDP RPCO 4B InfoACE Unit)
Cashew is the number one agricultural commodity in the Province of Palawan, particularly in Roxas which is its highest producer. Roxas, a coastal municipality located two hours away from the capital city, shares more than 2,400 hectares of the cashew plantation of the whole province.
Cashew is the province’s top commodity, yet cashew trees bear fruit only once a year. Because of this, small-time cashew growers and processors have a hard time earning a stable income for the whole year. Every lean season, around June to December, only those who have the capital to acquire bulks during harvest season are able to process and sell all year round.
The Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) has an approved P19.54 million-worth subproject in the said municipality. The “Palawan Cashew Processing Center,” under the enterprise development (I-REAP) component, will be implemented by the Roxas Seed Growers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (RSGMPC) and will be established in Barangay Malcampo.
With around 100 members who are either cashew growers or processors, the RSGMPC aims to utilize the cashew fruit to create more economic opportunities that are expected to help them have a more sustainable livelihood.
“Hindi naman sa talagang walang kinikita kung hindi kulang ang kanilang kinikita. Kaya sabi ko, sana talaga makatulong itong proyekto lalo na doon sa ating mga farmers (It is not because there is no profit, but because their profit is insufficient. That is why I said that, hopefully, this project will be able to help especially our farmers),” Roxas Municipal Mayor Maria Angela Sabando said.
The main product of the RSGMPC is the roasted cashew which comes from the cashew nut. The by-products, cashew nut shell liquid and the waste cashew shells, will also be sold for additional income. The waste cashew shells will specifically be utilized as fuel by the Palawan Center for Appropriate Rural Technologies for their Hybrid Renewable Energy Project in Green Island Bay which is also in Roxas.
Mayor Maria Angela Sabando (center) of Roxas, Palawan meets with the members of the MIMAROPA Regional Project Coordination Office to coordinate her plans for the subprojects that will be established in the municipality. (Photo by Leira Vic Colongon, DA-PRDP RPCO 4B InfoACE Unit)
Initiative for sustainability
The fund for the construction of the processing center will come from the World Bank, Department of Agriculture, and the Municipal Government of Roxas.
In addition to the said financial counterpart, the local government also provides assistance to the proponent group in terms of managing their enterprise.
“Sana bago pumasok ’yong ibang project, maturuan natin sila sa simple bookkeeping para matuto sila on how to manage ng maayos ’yong puhunan o business na itutulong sa kanila (Hopefully, before the establishment of the other subprojects, we can teach them simple bookkeeping so they can learn how to manage the capital or business that will be provided to them),” added Mayor Sabando.
One of the plans of the local government is to conduct simplified accounting-related trainings to the beneficiaries of PRDP interventions in the municipality. The trainings will be conducted in coordination with the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) which has been a partner agency of Roxas even before PRDP.
Under the special project, Roxas will also share equity for seven Global Environment Facility subprojects for seven of its fourteen marine protected areas (MPAs). Each of the seven MPAs will be the location of an enterprise that will support the livelihood of the fisherfolk community and at the same time protect the aquatic resources in the area.
According to PCAARRD, the trainings for the subproject recipients will hopefully further their knowledge in developing financial reports, income statements, balance sheets, and other documents that are important to running their business.