Narcissa Mandac, Treasurer of the Malbog Multi-Purpose Farmers’ Cooperative, harvesting arrowroot in her farm near the “Arrowroot Production and Marketing” subproject site. (Photo by Leira Vic Colongon, DA-PRDP MIMAROPA RPCO InfoACE Unit)
“Kami po ay natutuwa. Nagpapasalamat po ang Malbog Multi-Purpose Farmers’ Cooperative sa tulong po [ng World Bank]. Sana po ang aming mga members at saka mga taga-rito po sa Malbog ay matutulungan po at makaangat po ang aming kabuhayan (We are very excited. The Malbog Multi-Purpose Farmers’ Cooperative thanks the World Bank for their help. We hope that [through the project] our members and the other residents of Malbog will besupported for the improvement of our livelihood).”
Narcissa Mandac, member of the Malbog Multi-Purpose Farmers’ Cooperative in Marinduque, shared those words about the cooperative’s enterprise development (I-REAP) subproject that will be funded by Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP). The subproject entitled “Arrowroot Production and Marketing” worth P1.34 million was proposed to help Typhoon Lando-affected areas recover.
Arrowroot is one of the most abundant agricultural commodities in the Province of Marinduque. This root crop, which is used in making flour, starch, and cookies that are gluten-free, has high demand in both local and international markets.
The PRDP and the Provincial Local Government Unit (PLGU) of Marinduque aim to help the arrowroot farmers to get back on their feet through the I-REAP subproject.
“Itong aming cooperative, marami nang naranasan iyan na hirap. Nadapa na kami. Kailangan naming bumangon, pero kailangan namin ng alalay (Our cooperative has experienced many difficulties. We have fallen. We need to rise again, but we need some assistance),” Mandac said.
Mandac and the other farmers intercrop arrowroot with coconut, which is also a top commodity of the province, but their income is still considerably insufficient for their household needs. Currently at the procurement phase, the enterprise subproject is projected to improve the socio-economic condition of the farming community, especially in Malbog and Buenavista in Marinduque.
The enterprise will also showcase arrowroot as one of the main products of Marinduque and help improve the province’s arrowroot industry. As a commodity-based project, the PRDP aims to contribute to the development of priority commodity value chains by funding interventions that are identified in the Provincial Commodity Investment Plans (PCIPs).
During the interagency convergence meeting held in September 2017, the representatives of PRDP local and national level planning (I-PLAN) component, Marinduque PLGU, and partner agencies discussed other project proposals and plans to increase investments in the province’s arrowroot and coco geonet industries.