ARDCI Firms Up Support for Tiger Grass Promotion - CT

The Agricultural and Rural Development for Catanduanes, Inc. (ARDCI) is not letting up on its intention to help in developing the local tiger grass (lasa) industry by making its presence felt once more at this time when other "sugbo" traders, some coming all the way from Bataan, begin negotiations with lasa farmers.

It may be remembered that when ARDCI started buying "sugbo" last year, the lasa farmers were already desperate at the very low buying price of P20 per bundle, such that some farmers just burned their produce rather than lose much in the transaction.

An ensuing dialogue with major "sugbo" stockholders in the Hitoma district resulted in a fair agreement on a buying price of P30 to P40 per bundle. However, as ARDCI intervention came by the month of May, the available tiger grass was already limited as negotiation and buying usually start as early as December of the previous year. Nonetheless, the local trader’s entry became a saving grace for the farmers who have been suffering from price exploitation for decades.

ARDCI’s present warehouse, located beside its main office in Virac, has a limited capacity at the moment but a bigger one is being scouted. Its stock of "sugbo" last year was used to produce a volume of soft brooms which were marketed in some Bicol provinces through the ARDI sub-offices there.

A small portion of the stock was also delivered to Bataan buyers who had previous orders with ARCI. Because of the minimal volume of raw materials gathered, ARDCI had to discontinue its processing venture towards the last quarter. It was not able to serve other local broom makers who had also ran out of raw lasa.

By starting its negotiation earlier this year, ARDCI hopes to have a good stockpile towards the end of the year, enough to meet its demand for soft brooms and orders from other local processors.

Source: Catanduanes Tribune - 10 January 2010