ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
American aid helps former Muslim separatists
In a statement, the USAID said that officials of their agency awarded the facilities to the former combatants' cooperative. USAID's aim is to alleviate poverty in the region.
The Manisan Multipurpose Cooperative (MPC), based in Barangay Polonuling, in Tupi in South Cotabato, is composed of 40 former combatants of the MNLF and their families.
There were also some local government officials during the ceremony.
The assistance for agriculture facilities was made possible through the efforts of the agency's Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM) program and the United Nations' Act for Peace Program.
The GEM program constructed the solar dryer for the Manisan MPC under a partnership agreement. On the other hand, GEM and the UNDP Act for Peace program jointly provided a multi-commodity packing and consolidation facility for the group.
"These projects are designed to reduce the cooperative's post-harvest losses and allow it to consolidate its harvests of higher-value vegetables. This helps creates economies of scale, enabling the co-op growers to negotiate for better farm-gate prices," the statement from the USAID said.
The cooperative has reported that the average income per cooperative member from the sale of vegetables in 2009 was more than P100,000. They said that they are anticipating sales for 2010 to be 50 percent higher than last year.
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