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NegOcc ARB coop develops ecopark in Cadiz City

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By By Erwin Nicavera (PNA)

BACOLOD CITY -- The Dalayapan Agrarian Reform Cooperative (DARCO) is developing a 20-hectare ecological park in Barangay Caduha-an, Cadiz City in northern Negros Occidental.

Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer I Milagros Flores said on Friday the Dalayapan Ecopark is expected to start operating next year.

The amenities will include campgrounds, spring pool, and other recreational facilities.

“The ecopark is included in the cooperative’s developmental plan,” Flores said.

She added that DARCO’s success is a pride of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the City of Cadiz.

On Thursday, the cooperative opened the Café Darco inside the area witnessed by local government officials.

Café Darco, which is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, offers a variety of coffee choices, coffee-related drinks and native delicacies in a setting that provides a good view of nature.

Farm manager Dominador Alave Jr. expressed gratitude to those who have supported the initiatives of DARCO, which has received assistance from the DAR and other government agencies since it was organized in 2012.

“It’s hard to believe that we can achieve greater heights of success in our journey as agrarian reform beneficiaries, but it’s happening now,” he said.

Mayor Patrick Escalante assured DARCO of support from the local government to help the cooperative realize its vision of making the ecopark site a tourist destination.

“You have not yet reached your full potential. There’s more to look forward to,” the mayor told the cooperative members, adding that they should not rely solely on sugarcane and must diversify to other high-value crops like banana and cacao.

Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino lauded the cooperative for its achievement as he hoped that the proposed Dalayapan Ecopark will become an agri-tourism site.

“National and local agencies will surely help the cooperative achieve its goals, including the ecopark development,” he added.