In the mountainous part of the Municipality of E.B. Magalona locates Brgy. Canlusong, a community with an ideal and privileged place to grow coffee trees. With its potential to participate meaningfully in the economy, it faces the challenge of strenuous and costly marketing of their coffee as they are producing hundreds of sacks per harvest with a lack of equipment and materials. Aside from that, residents also experience the threat of inevitable natural disasters with its location, and pupils in the established elementary school of the community have limited access to learning materials.

Rising to this challenge, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Region VI and Association of Negros Producers, Inc. initiated to assist the community in bearing against the barriers erected by poverty and deprivation through its Community Empowerment through Science and Technology (CEST) Program.

In close coordination with the local government unit of E.B. Magalona, the project will cover all the five (5) components of the program namely Livelihood and Economic Enterprise Development, Health and Nutrition, Human Resource Development, Environmental Protection and Conservation, and Disaster Risk Reduction Management and Climate Change Adaptation.

Addressing the major concern regarding the lack of equipment and materials, the program, under its Livelihood and Economic Enterprise Development component, will provide a micro coffee processing and roasting facility to the community’s Integrated Social Forestry Farmers Association to help improve the quality of their coffee products and upgrade its packaging and labelling.

Moreover, a training will be conducted to the concerned member-beneficiaries of the association with the purpose to enhance their coffee products and be at par with the standards of the local and international market for higher marketability and competitiveness.

With the Human Resources Development component, the community’s Canlusong Elementary School will be provided with a one (1) unit of desktop computer with an installed STARBOOKS (Science and Technology Academic and Research-based Openly Operated Kiosk Stations) software to advance the students’ knowledge and expand their resources for research and development.

Designed to be accessed without an internet connection, the STARBOOKS will encourage young minds to explore more in the field of Science and Technology, given that the community has no access to a fair to good internet connection and pupils don’t even have computers at home.

Furthermore, being situated in the mountainous area of the municipality, planting materials of other fruit-bearing trees will be provided through donations and in partnership with Provincial Environment Management Office (PEMO) to be cultivated around forest fringes as an alternative livelihood to reduce pressure on forest resources.

Also, a forum on disaster risk reduction will also be conducted to increase awareness and preparedness of the community being vulnerable to landslides and other forms of natural or man-made disaster using the RED (Reference for Emergency and Disaster) Handbook.

The program will also conduct a forum regarding Food Safety with the purpose to raise awareness of the community on the proper food intake, thus minimize malnutrition and health cases.

Recently, Association of Negros Producers, Inc. President Ms. Arlene A. Infante, Project Team Leader Ms. Sybel S. Nobleza, and DOST VI Representative Engr. Allan Francis P. Dara-ug signed a Memorandum of Agreement between DOST VI and ANP Inc. to implement the program.

The project will be pursued with a budget amounting to Php1,454,198.40. (JJMoleño/SSalazar/DOST VI-KMU)