June 24, 2024

ATOK, Benguet – The vision to have a kimchi factory in Benguet is a step closer to realization as the Department of Trade and Industry turned over facilities for kimchi production to the Topdac Multipurpose Cooperative thru a program at Ja’pa, Topdac, Atok on Feb. 7.

The P388,000 worth  of Shared Service Facility (SSF) project includes washing materials, curing materials, fermentation containers, and storage. It is part of the agency’s commitment to the DTI-Department of Agrarian Reform-Department of Science and Technology Village Level Farm-Focused Enterprise Development convergence project on kimchi production for the cooperative.

BENGUET KIMCHI FACTORY — The province of Benguet will soon have its own kimchi factory in Atok town through the assistance with the DTI-DAR-DOST convergence project. DTI-CAR Director Juliet Lucas and DTI Benguet Director Samuel Gallardo turned over more than P300,000 worth of equipment to the Topdac Multipurpose Cooperative in a ceremony last week. — Redjie Cawis

“As part of our commitment to development in the countryside, we launched the program as an agency idi pay laeng 2013 ket ti objective na daytoy SSF ket i-improve tayo ti quality ken efficiency of production ti micro, small and medium enterprises tayo. Daytoy inaramid tayo tatta ket ebidensiya that whole-of-government approach works,” DTI-Cordillera Assistant Director and DTI Baguio-Benguet Director Samuel Gallardo said.

DTI-Cordillera Director Juliet Lucas reminded the coop members to use the processing equipment provided through a usufruct agreement signed between DTI and the Topdac MPC.

“We are giving to you for now the use of these facilities. It is a usufruct agreement, you are the steward, make good use of it and earn from it and in the end, you will be rewarded as your property nu mayat ti panag-operate na daytoy nga kimchi factory of Benguet,” Lucas said.

DOST-Benguet Director Sheila Marie Claver committed the assistance of the agency particularly in packaging, labeling, and marketing of the products.

DAR-Benguet Provincial Director Penelope De Ausen, in a message read by Elsie Digmayo, assured their support to the project as she challenged the coop to continue in producing quality products to achieve their goal of being more competitive and enterprising.

In 2022, the DAR-Benguet funded the construction of the processing center while the Topdac MPC shouldered the labor cost and some materials.

The three agencies also capacitated the coop members on kimchi processing, food safety, and consultancy.

Councilor Marilou Zarate who represented Mayor Franklin Smith assured the support of the local government in the endeavor.

The Topdac MPC through Board of Directors chairperson Joseph Denio, BOD vice chairperson George Bay-osan, and Manager Edina Picpican expressed their gratitude for the assistance they have received from the government and committed to make good use of the facilities and equipment.

Picpican said they started to produce kimchi after experiencing oversupply of wombok in 2019. They produced for home consumption until they tried to sell it in their coop.

The cooperative is now producing kimchi for sale at P110 for 500 grams and P55 for 250 grams. With the support of the concerned government agencies, they hope to expand their market. – Debbie E. Gasingan