Puerto Princesa-based cooperative starts banana chips production
The Tagumpay Agrarian Auto Savings Multi-Purpose Cooperative (TAAS MPC) proposed the Mango Processing Facility and Marketing subproject under the enterprise development component of the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) to establish a proper and sanitized location where they can process and sell mango by-products.
Through the Department of Agrarian Reform, the TAAS MPC was created and is currently assisted by the Department of Agriculture, particularly with PRDP. The Department of Science and Technology also provided them various trainings to strengthen their skills and knowledge which they can use to improve current and future performance.
Through its recently completed building, the cooperative will use the mango surplus in the Province of Palawan to produce mango products such as dried mango, mango nectar, and mango puree. This post-harvest facility is expected to alleviate some of the difficulties that farmers experience in marketing their products.
The primary goal of TAAS MPC is to improve the socio-economic status of their members by increasing the income of the cooperative first and then of the individual members.
Mango season in the province is around March to June. That’s why during lean months, the cooperative produces other products such as banana chips.
Innovating other goods like combining fruits and vegetables during off-season is one of the advices of Rebecca Tubongbanua, owner of McNester, during the mango processing training in Guimaras last October so that their business will run continuously in production.
Aside from mango, banana saba is also relatively abundant in Palawan, particularly in the area where the PRDP-funded processing facility is located.
The facility, after being completed and turned over during the early 2019, is now being used by its beneficiaries to produce banana chips – while waiting for the peak season of mango – with the assistance of the City Agriculture Office.
“We have tried selling these [banana chips] to school canteens at P5 per pack since children and students are used to eating boiled banana. Our banana chips is still the same healthy snack, though cooked differently,” said Leonesa Panatanilla, processors and a Board of Director of TAAS MPC.
According to Panatanilla, the ingredients that they used for their banana chips are only water, sugar, and honey, without adding any preservatives. The association already planned to cook more flavors in the future and assures that it will remain as healthy as possible.
In 2020, TAAS MPC is expecting to start its production of processed mango. The PRDP and City Agriculture Office will remain to work hand in hand to assist them in achieving their objectives. – Leira Vic Colongon, InfoACE Unit, DA-PRDP MIMAROPA RPCO