The 90 members of the Tapak Farmers Marketing Cooperative (TFMC) received P3.8 million worth of farm machinery from the Davao City government, the World Bank, and the Department of Agriculture (DA) to boost their abaca farm production.

TFMC of Barangay Tapak, Paquibato District received on Thursday, August 20, a tractor with a trailer, spindle stripping machines, and weighing scales which will be used for the Abaca Processing and Marketing Enterprise proposed by the TFMC.

TFMC, which became a cooperative and gained accreditation from the city government in 2017. It is now composed of 90 farmers, of which 75 percent are members of the Ata tribe. Tapak is the city’s farthest and remotest barangay and home to the Ata tribes who used to grow mainly corn and upland rice until they discovered abaca can thrive in the mountainous area in 2014.

In 2018, Tapak is one of the identified areas for the city government’s peace and development initiative under Peace 911 aiming to uplift the lives of the people in rebel-infested Paquibato.

The funds used in the purchase of the machinery was the first tranche of the P10 million grant from the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) under the Investments on Enterprise Development (I-REAP). I-REAP is aimed at strengthening and developing viable agri-fishery based enterprises through efficient value chains of key agricultural and fishery projects on targeted program areas.

City Agriculturist Leo Brian Leuterio said that the Abaca Processing and Marketing Enterprise aims to increase abaca fiber production and marketing in the city.

The Abaca Processing and Marketing Enterprise covers 375 hectares of abaca area in sitios Tapak Proper, Butay, Mangani, and Panlawayan as the four production cluster areas of Barangay Tapak.

In 2013, TFMC started engaging in abaca processing and marketing for the domestic market. Most of its members are using traditional or hand-stripping methods in extracting abaca, which is a laborious and time-consuming process for the farmers.

“The TFMC is presently buying hand-stripped abaca fiber from the farmers-members. With the PRDP intervention, the enterprise aims to upgrade and expand the existing business of TFMC through the construction of an Abaca processing building, provision of Abaca processing equipment, and delivery and marketing of Abaca fiber,” Leuterio said.

The Abaca Processing and Marketing Enterprise targets to increase abaca fiber marketing from 36 metric tons to 148.5 metric tons per year. Also, the project would increase the TFMC average income from P225,145.5 to P1,257,253.96.

When finished, the enterprise will have four (4) abaca storage and processing facility worth P3,999,797.19; a 6-wheeler delivery truck worth P2,946,810; one (1) tractor for hauling from farm to processing area at P2,256,000; one trailer at P144,000; eight (8) spindle stripping machines at P1,390,080; and four platform weighing scales at P79,200. The World Bank, DA, and Davao City government shares funding for the Abaca Processing and Marketing Enterprise at 60:20:20 respectively. CIO