philrootcrops goes to thailand

In a relentless pursuit of fostering the cassava industry's growth in the Visayas, a dynamic alliance between the Fatima Multi-Purpose Cooperative (FMPC), VSU PhilRootcrops, and Agriterra recently ventured to Bangkok, Thailand.

The mission of PhilRootcrops’ and FMPC’s learning visit was to glean invaluable insights into the art of cassava production and processing from industry leaders, benchmark on mechanization, and explore other cutting-edge technologies on cassava. The transformative journey unfolded between September 4th and 8th, 2023, at the prestigious Yunus Center, Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok.

Thailand's Cassava Triumph

Thailand has emerged as the undisputed champion in cassava exports, boasting a staggering 60% share of the global market for cassava by-products, including starch, chips, pellets, and ethanol. In 2021 alone, Thailand exported cassava products valued at a staggering 3.8 billion U.S. dollars.

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This remarkable achievement owes its success to a harmonious blend of abundant cassava resources, a well-developed processing industry, competitive production costs due to high utilization of relevant technologies, robust government support, an insatiable global demand for cassava products, and continuous search for innovative technologies.

Given these compelling factors, Thailand became the natural choice for this enlightening study visit.

Among the distinguished members of the VSU staff participating in this transformative journey were Prof. Marlon Tambis, Assistant Director of PhilRootcrops, Mr. Dioscoro Bolatete Jr., Senior Agriculturist of PhilRootcrops, and Ms. Mikaela Gongora, former Science Research Assistant of PhilRootcrops, and currently the OIC Station Manager of VSU-DYDC.

These dedicated individuals brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table, setting the stage for a journey of discovery and innovation.

The FMPC and PhilRootcrops Collaboration

At the heart of this ambitious endeavor lies a robust partnership between FMPC and PhilRootcrops. FMPC, a key player in the development of the cassava industry in Region 8, relies heavily on PhilRootcrops for technical assistance in cassava production. This collaboration has been instrumental in nurturing the cassava landscape not only in Region 8 but also in some parts of the Visayas and Mindanao.

The primary goals of the Bangkok study-visit program were to gain insights and experiences in cassava production, trading, and processing; improve the cassava business and promote increased mechanization; and lay the foundation for the establishment of a starch processing facility.

FMPC's Ambitious Plans

Nestled in Calubian, Leyte, FMPC, with its staggering membership of around 10,000 and an impressive asset base of approximately P600 million, primarily focuses on savings and loans. However, their vision stretches beyond financial services. The cooperative aspires to expand its agribusiness, particularly in cassava trading and processing with San Miguel Corporation as a key partner in FMPC's cassava granule endeavors.

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Furthermore, FMPC envisions constructing a starch-processing facility with a remarkable capacity of 500 metric tons per day, a move poised to augment income streams for both the cooperative and its dedicated farmer members.

The Bangkok study-visit program signals a promising chapter in the evolution of the cassava industry in the region. Armed with newfound knowledge and inspired by the success of Thailand's cassava giants, FMPC, PhilRootcrops, and VSU are poised to invigorate the cassava landscape, forging a path toward prosperity and self-sufficiency in cassava production and processing. The valuable learning experience may have begun in Thailand, but its echoes will undoubtedly reverberate throughout the region, catalyzing a cassava revolution of unprecedented magnitude.

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