The Eastern Primary Multi-Purpose Cooperative (EPMPC) based in Sibut, San Jose City, Nueva Ecija has received funding amounting to Php100,000 from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) through its Program Beneficiaries Development (PBD) for a project aimed at enhancing the coop’s village-level processing center.
The undertaking was formalized during the grant turn-over and signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) among EPMPC, DAR and other project partners, such as the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the local government of San Jose City on September 3.
The EPMPC is one of the groups being assisted by the PCC in the National Impact Zone (NIZ) of the agency’s Carabao Development Program. The coop operates its own small-scale dairy processing plant and has developed a market for its various dairy products.
According to Jocelyn Ramones, Nueva Ecija Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer I of DAR, the EPMPC was chosen as one of three PBD beneficiaries in Central Luzon after complying with the requirements for the project, such as having an existing operational processing facility.
“We have also verified that the coop has a very sound and strong leadership, thus, qualifying it for the PBD grant,” Ramones explained.
The support fund will be used to improve the EPMPC’s milk processing center, particularly for the production of flavored caramilk, following the specifications and guidelines set by the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD).
This will allow the coop to secure a BFAD registration/license to operate, which will allow it to expand its market to cover institutional buyers.
As stipulated in the agreement, the DTI will extend assistance in management skills development and in marketing and product development. DTI will also help in preparing documents necessary in acquiring the needed BFAD license.
The PCC, on the other hand, will continue to provide technical assistance in carabao production and management to ensure the continuous flow of milk from the coop members’ dairy buffaloes.
For its part, the local government of San Jose City will monitor the progress of the facility improvement. If needed, the LGU will also extend financial help to facilitate completion of the project.
Melchor Correa, EPMPC chairman, expressed his gratitude to the various agencies that have put their trust on the coop.
“We are indeed very lucky to be a recipient of this fund. Rest assured that we will use the fund to further develop our cooperative,” Correa said during the grant turn-over cum MOA signing ceremony.
Apart from Ramones and Correa, also present during the event were Hon. Jenny Salvador from the San Jose City Council; Ming Ocampo, DAR training coordinator; Mario Delizo, Project Development Officer II of PCC; Elagio Duran, division chief of DTI’s Business Management Division, and members of the EPMPC.
The renovation is set to start upon the release of the fund and will be completed before the year ends.