The Don Bosco Multipurpose Cooperative based in M’lang, North Cotabato shipped 13.5 metric tons of organic pigmented rice to United Arab Emirates and the United States on June 30.
The 10-metric ton shipment was bound for Dubai, UAE, while 3.5 MT of black rice was intended for the US market.
Romano Laurilla, general manager of Don Bosco MPC, said the opportunity to export organic black rice to the US came after he met Justin Garrido, a social entrepreneur and co-founder of the Social Project.PH.
Laurilla said Garrido was the coop’s distributor in the US.
The co-op in November 2014 and February 2015 exported two tons to Los Angeles, California, while shipments to the UAE started in 2012.
“The additional 10 MT organic rice shipment is the product of the Dubai OFW Reintegration Program,” Laurilla said.
Don Bosco MPC’s organic black, red and brown rice are grown in over 500 hectares in the towns of M’lang, Tulunan, Midsayap, President Roxas and city of Kidapawan in North Cotabato and Surallah in South Cotabato.
The co-op is also expanding production areas in Sultan Kudarat province.
Don Bosco MPC holds a certification from the Organic Certifying Center of the Philippines. It is the first coop in the Philippines to receive international certification from Certification of Environmental Standards (Ceres), a European-based certifying body.
It has been certified by the National Organic program of the US Department of Agriculture.
In support to the co-op’s export bid, DA 12 Regional executive director Milagros Casis said the agency poured numerous interventions such as double chamber vacuum packing machine, seed trading center, rice transplanter, seed cleaner and rice color sorter worth P3 million in 2012.
The co-op also received P1.9 million worth of rice combine harvester in 2016.
“We are also bringing Don Bosco MPC to local and international trade fairs and expo,” Casis said.
She said the agency would continue to assist and provide the necessary assistance that the co-op needs for them to sustain the exportation of organic pigmented rice.
“I believe that our partnership will get even stronger after this another export breakthrough and I hope that we will continue to be partners in helping each other towards better and more holistic agriculture sector,” Casis said.