THE Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) said it will build a coffee processing center to support Benguet farmers.

In a statement on Wednesday, the DAR said that the new facility will improve the marketability of the coffee produced by agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) in Atok, Benguet.

The DAR signed a memorandum of agreement with the Departments of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Science and Technology (DoST), as well as the Caliking Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative, in connection with the facility’s construction.

“The Village Level Farm-focused Enterprise Development (VLFED) project aims to enhance the products of the ARBs by using appropriate facilities and equipment applicable to the agri-business enterprise of the cooperative,” Lailani A. Cortez, Provincial Agrarian Reform program officer said.

The VLFED project hopes to establish “viable and profitable enterprises” for farmers, as well as unlock access to mainstream markets.

Ms. Cortez added that the DAR will lead in the project implementation and assist in the construction of the facility.

The DAR will also assist the farmers in registering the facility’s license to operate with the Food and Drug Administration.

“The DTI will help in the marketing, product promotion, and provision of production equipment,” she said.

It added that the DoST will provide technical assistance in product laboratory analyses and packaging and labeling services, while the local government will handle approvals for the electrification of the coffee center.

The processing center is set for completion by September. — Adrian H. Halili