ORMOC CITY-The Energy Development Corporation (EDC) Leyte geothermal field launches its coffee and cacao processing facility and the BINHI vegetative materials reproduction nursery to help provide a sustainable income to its partner community and to elevate the environment condition in the area, respectively.
Recognizing the high demand of chocolate made from cacao products and also coffee not just in the province but in the entire country, EDC initiated of encouraging the new generation of farmers from the Tongonan Farmers Association (TOFA) to venture out in the cacao and coffee business.
The idea was realized in 2020 with high support from the city government of Ormoc, the Department of Science and Technology Region VIII, and the officials and residents of Tongonan.
After two years, a processing plant was launched which was held last Tuesday graced by Ormoc City councilor Nolito Quilang, representing Mayor Lucy Torre Gomez; DOST Regional Office VIII Regional Director Engr. Ernesto Granada and his Leyte counterpart, John Glenn Ocaña, and Tongonan officials led by chairperson, Wilma Taneo.
EDC was represented by its vice president and corporate support functions head Regina Victoria Pascual; assistant vice president and corporate relations and communications head, Atty. Allan Barcena; officer-in-charge head of Leyte geothermal facility, Andy Durog; Leyte corporate relations head Erwin Magallanes; corporate communications head Frances Ariola; and other key officials and employees of the company.
In this project, EDC poured P1.5 million worth of contributions which covers the facility renovation, plantation expansion, and capacity development programs for TOFA members.
The DOST provided the processing equipment and the city government of Ormoc through its livelihood council provided training support and technical assistance.
As a counterpart, village officials offered for the use of the building to house the machines granted by the DOST and EDC.
With this initiative, the EDC hopes that TOFA, founded by the EDC and barangay farmers in 1989, is provided with a steady source of income with this livelihood and eventually become self-sustaining community.
The association has been EDC’s partner for over 30 years now in protecting forests within its geothermal facility.
“We are thankful to TOFA for being guardians of our reforestation areas here in Leyte all these years,” said Erwin Magallanes, head of EDC’s corporate relations in Leyte.
EDC’s BINHI vegetative materials reproduction (VMR) nursery was also launched on that day.
BINHI is an EDC landmark, a 15-year old greening legacy program that has bridged and propagated 96 flagship Philippine native tree species, a number of which have already been classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the global authority on nature conservation.
Under the BINHI program, EDC has planted around 6.4 million native trees across the country.
VMR nursery helps EDC’s BINHI team propagate the Philippine threatened native tree species that are endemic to the region such as Katmon Bayani, Mapilig, Almaciga and other dipterocarp classes.
This facility is critical to the company’s thrust of mainstreaming native trees as it addresses the non-availability of planting materials or the rarity of tree species due to their threatened status.
The nursery accommodates up to 100,000 seedlings of native trees. EDC aims to provide native tree species to its partners in the region and spread the awareness on reforestation as a vital solution to our warming planet.
(ELVIE ROMAN ROA)