Kalinga first to launch RUMEPP project in the country
by L. Lopez
Tabuk, Kalinga (28 February) -- In less than two years after the launching of the Rural Micro-enterprise Promotion Program (RuMEPP), Kalinga is the first province to launch its project under the program, among the 19 pilot provinces throughout the country.
RuMEPP Project Coordinator Aurora Sanet of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said the province the Kalinga Mountain Coffee of the Gawidan Farmers Association (GFA), a RuMEPP-assisted project in the province was launched last Feb. 14 as part of the Ullalim Trade Fair in the recent celebration of the 14th founding anniversary of Kalinga province.
RuMEPP was launched in July 2007 to assist small farmers and producers become micro-entrepreneurs by providing them enterprise development training and business service providers. This is in line with government's agenda of creating jobs and livelihood among low-income families to curve poverty and hunger among Filipinos.
Target sectors in the province include food processing, weaving, handicrafts, ornamental plants and other small business groups.
Formally organized through the assistance of DTI-Kalinga in 2007, GFA with 30 active members drafted last year its business plan on coffee processing, which is the prime product of its members.
Through the RuMEPP, members were able to produce the fourth coffee finished-product of Kalinga - Kalinga Mountain Coffee, after Kalinga Brew, Kalinga Blend and Mananig Coffee.
Unlike the first three processed coffee products, which all come from blended roasted coffee beans, Kalinga Mountain Coffee is packaged in the three individual varieties- Robusta, Excelsa and Arabica - to give coffee drinkers individual preference in making his own taste and blend.
According to coffee baristas, the three varieties have their own taste qualities - arabica on coffee aroma, excelsa on taste and robusta on texture.
RuMEPP has made members of GFA promising new micro-entrepreneurs with their Kalinga Mountain Coffee, instead of mere farmers who just rely on proceeds of their coffee beans.
Meanwhile, in recognition of the efforts in providing business development service to target sectors, the RuMEPP issued a service vehicle to the DTI provincial office here.
According to Sanet,the new multi-cab car is used in reaching out to more beneficiary groups of the program, in line with government's thrust of creating livelihood and income opportunities among poor families.
Instead of selling right away their farm products to middle men, small farmers are trained on product development technology, giving added value to their produce, Sanet said adding that this will help check on the falling country's export.
In the province, DTI provincial office is assisting not less than 30 organized micro-business groups spread in the 8 municipalities, where the need for service car is required.
There are still many groups that need to be reached-out under the program, especially those in the upper region of the province, where resource-base products are produced in volumes like coffee and Unoy rice, Sanet said.
With the car assistance provided by the program, Sanet assures to help more low-income farmers derive greater benefits in the outskirt of Kalinga. (PIA-Kalinga) [top]