In response to the expansion of the Project HOPE (Helping Others Prosper Economically) Demo-Farm and training needs of beneficiaries, the Department of Labor and Employment Regional Office IX conducted an Enhancement and Hands-on Training on Chili and Cacao Planting and Chili Post-Production Methods (Processing, Labelling, Pricing, Bottling, Marketing and Preparations for FDA Registration) on September 2-10, 2019 at the 1st Industrial Park, ZAMBOECOZONE, Talisayan, Zamboanga City.

Regional Director Ofelia B. Domingo shared in her opening remarks that the success of the Project does not only lie with the aid extended by government agencies but largely relies on the commitment and dedication of the beneficiaries. Thus she encouraged them to focus on the project and work hard as a team.

DOLE 9 invited Mr. George Allen Callora and Mr. Erman Sabia of Mindanao Chili Growers and Processors Inc. for the training on Chilli Planting and Mr. Lyndon Sumaoy for the training for Cacao-Planting.

The Chili Training covered the following topics: planting, rearing of the Super Hots Chili and prevention of insect infestation. During the training, the beneficiaries were taught on how to prepare organic pesticides derived from Neem Tree leaves. A chili house was also constructed which consisted of 12 plots where they planted a total of 256 Yellow Habanero and 71 Red Habanero chili.

For participants to share insights and learnings from the hands-on training, DOLE 9 held a Farmer’s Night on September 6, 2019.

To ensure continuity and thorough coverage on all aspects of the chili agri-business, a Chili Post-Production Methods Training was conducted on September 10, 2019 at the ZAMBOECOZONE Conference Room.

The training, facilitated by Mr. Gian Karlo Delfino, focused on the processing, labelling, pricing, bottling, marketing and preparation for FDA Registration. The beneficiaries were tasked to come up with a product name and logo design for eventual registration with the Department of Trade and Industry. Also tackled during the training was arriving at a suggested retail price, mark-up price computation and 12% VAT

“In behalf of the Project HOPE Workers Association, we would like to express our thanks to DOLE and its partners for providing us with all resources and trainings. We understand that for this project to prosper, our commitment and cooperation is needed thus we will continuously support and commit to the project thru our participation and involvement in all activities,” said Ms. Mary Jean D. Gonzaga, President of the Association, in her closing remarks.

Director Domingo likewise shared about the way forward for the Project:

“The beneficiaries will soon form a cooperative thus there will be a one-day mandatory orientation with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) for them.”

Project HOPE DOLE 9’s solution to the perennial problem brought about by the Closed Fishing Season focusing on long term interventions, assistance and services to affected workers of the fishing and canning industry and their families. END / With reports from Project HOPE Task Force

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