Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental - What used to be expensive, burdensome corn milling is now a thing of the past. This came after the Department of Labor and Employment Negros Island Region through its Negros Oriental Field Office fulfilled the resident’s long-time dream following the agency's recent grant release of P 727,000. 00 to Tamlang United Farmers Association (TUFA) of Barangay Talalac, Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental.
Citing the report of DOLE-NORFO Provincial Head Marites Mercado, said allocation will be used to purchase a 32HP diesel engine corn mill machine which will directly benefit some 1600 individuals of Barangay Talalac and neighbouring residents of Barangays Enrique Villanueva of Sibulan town, Barangay Dobdob, Valencia and Barangay Mantiquel, Siaton.
Situated about 43 kilometres from the towns nearest rice mill in Barangay Nagbagang, the villagers' means of transportation include improvised motorcycle locally called “habal-habal”, carabao, horses and trekking.
In addition, Talalac farmers are beset with high transportation cost on top of the backbreaking travel
A one-way trip to the rice mill with a sack of corn grits via “habal-habal”could cost a tiller around P450.00, (P350.00 person fare and P150.00 per sack fare), considerably, a huge amount to spend in the countryside.
Those who choose to walk at the same time carry over their shoulders a sack of corn grits could be away from home for three days considering the long and difficult journey just to get their produce milled, while other community members still use the old grindstone to ensure food grain is ready for the family's consumption.
According to Talalac Barangay Captain Edmar Bigay, the situation inspired the organization to sought DOLE's assistance in the hope the corn mill will enable the community to have easy and inexpensive access to corn mill service.
“Pinaagi niing ayuda sa DOLE makaangkon na ang TUFA sa galingan sa mais. Kini usa kadakong abag sa mga lumulopyo sa Barangay Talalak ug mga kasikbit nga mga komunidad tungod kay dili nami magsagubang sa kamahal sa plete ug sa kalayo arun magaling ang among pasi sa mais” (translation: “DOLE has realized TUFA's long awaited corn mill which will aid farmers in our villege as well our neighbouring communities obtain affordable and accessible corn milling”) quipped the thankful Chairman Bigay.
Meanwhile, DOLE-NIR Director Atty. Johnson Caňete has expressed optimism on the corn mill's role towards lifting the economic situation of the villagers, along with community development towards inclusive growth
The project was made possible through the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP).