Farmers expect better income with RUBBER Project
By Mai Gevera
Davao City (17 June) -- A cooperative in Baganga, Davao Oriental known by the name, Rubber Planters Multi Purpose Cooperative would have been satisfied with their maximum earning of P20 per kilo of rubber in their 46-hectare rubber plantation, not until they heard about the RUBBER Project of the Department of Labor and Employment Region XI.
RUBBER or Rural and Upland Barangays Benefiting from Employment in Rubber is a P15 million initiative of DOLE XI aimed to develop 30,000 hectares of rubber plantation in the region for the next 10 years.
The project is unique to the Davao region, making it an experimental project worth replicating in other parts of the country.
After developing Barangay Mandug, Davao City, DOLE recently awarded a P200,000 grant to the Baganga Rubber Planters for the said cooperative to purchase a rubber sheeter machine.
Rodrigo Labastida, manager of the Baganga Rubber Planters is more than thankful for his group to be chosen as one of the beneficiaries of the RUBBER.
He explained that being able to purchase such machine qualifies them to produce processed rubber.
"Dati po hanggang P20 lang ang pwede naming kitain sa bawat kilo ng rubber. Pero ngayon, pwede na kaming kumita ng P150 kada kilo," he said.
The farmer estimates better income expecting at least 2,000 kilos of rubber latex to be produced every month.
This project came about in time to provide additional employment for farmers especially in the middle of a global financial crisis.
Not just benefiting the members of the cooperative, but the project in Baganga also hired additional manpower such as 46 rubber tappers, 10 nursery laborers, and 15 management personnel.
"Mang Rodrigo" could not express heartfelt gratitude in words but he only uttered a promise which for him is also similar to the feelings of other members of the Baganga Rubber Planters.
" Hindi man namin ito babayaran kasi ito ay isang grant na bigay ng gobyerno subalit sisguraduhin naming sasagana ang mga buhay ng marami sa aming taga Baganga," he said.
This P200,000 grant is just part of the more than P2 billion livelihood checks given out by the DOLE XI under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's CLEEP Program. (PIA XI) [top]