(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Thursday, 23 May 2024) Easterlies affecting the country. 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—˜π—”π—§π—›π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms due to Easterlies. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—œπ—‘π—— 𝗔𝗑𝗗 π—–π—’π—”π—¦π—§π—”π—Ÿ π—ͺπ—”π—§π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Light to moderate winds coming from East to Northeast will prevail with slight to moderate seas (0.6 to 2.1 meters).

Thursday, 12 October 2023

Upscaling cooperatives through diversification in agriculture

By Nida Grace P. Barcena

Since its comeback in 2022 from the hiatus of pandemic, the Magroyong Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative (MAFAMUCO) in San Miguel town, from the province of Surigao del Sur, has been a recipient of several government programs amounting to over P8 million, with the bargain to innovate and upscale. 

This is an affirmation of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s high trust in cooperatives during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 24, 2023, as he promised to work well with Congress to push several legislations for the development of agriculture and fishery sectors, speed up the creation of more cooperatives, and amend the Cooperative Code, stating, “Ipinag-bubuklod natin ang mga magsasaka, sa pama-magitan ng farm and fisheries clustering at mga livestock multiplier farms. Tatlong daang clusters na ang ating natukoy, na binubuo ng halos siyam na raang kooperatiba, at may lawak na mahigit dalawang-daang libong ektarya ng bukirin, [We will strengthen agriculture through clustering of farmers, fisherfolk and livestock multiplier farms that make up almost 900 cooperatives with more than 200,000 hectares of land].”

Responding as a game changer in agriculture, Joeirene Montero Campomanes, MAFAMUCO chairperson, shared, "The members of our cooperative are all palay farmers. However, with the concept of diversification in agriculture, it allows our members to efficiently rebuild the cooperative by embracing alternatives in agriculture, as recipients of project proposals and business plans."

As such, the group received the latest grant on the biosecure swine housing facility that was turned over to them on October 2, with a project cost of P5.5 million, as funded by the Department of Agriculture (DA) National Livestock Program under its major program on the Integrated National Swine Production Initiatives for Recovery and Expansion (INSPIRE).

Accordingly, of the seven grantees of the biosecure swine housing facility, MAFAMUCO, as a well-managed group, took the lead as the first to complete the construction of the facility in the province as well as in the Caraga region. The coop provided  2,000 square meters of land as their counterpart, while the development of the area was within the mandate of the local government unit, with program implementation that covered the facility, feed and biological support, and 300 piglets. 

The INSPIRE program of the DA-National Livestock Program aims to sustain the availability and access of local farmers to eligible sources of quality hogs in the country. It is a recovery and repopulation program for the hog sector, directly responding to the needs of the industry, given the African swine fever problem.

Anchored on diversified agriculture, the cooperative took the challenge and courageously participated and engaged in the following projects:

  • Tilapia farming under the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) program with fingerlings and feeds at a project cost of P150,000;
  •  Vegetable farm equipment and tools with a total cost of P200,000 from Adaptation and Mitigation Initiatives-Balik-Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa (AMIA-BP2);
  •   Chariot service from the Department of Agrarian Reform, valued at P105,000;
  •  Rice program under fertilizer discount voucher (FDV) with sales of P500,000;
  • Rotary decomposer and shredder from the DA-Composting Facility for Biodegradable Wastes (CFBW), with equipment costing P1 million;  
  • Seeds and UV plastic from organic agriculture; and

P1 million as start-up capital from the local government unit of San Miguel with a donation of a recirculating dryer for their enterprise

The cooperative continues its progressive journey in discovering better concepts and opportunities in agriculture through the pending proposals for the year 2023, to wit: 

  •  “Kadiwa Enhancement” at P5 million;
  • Remote receiving terminal with cold room storage at P16 million for the centralization of end products; and
  • Rice processing system under DA-Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (Philmech).

From 33 in 2022 to currently 139, the members of MAFAMUCO have not set aside their first passion in palay production as they committed to helping the town and the country achieve rice sufficiency and make this prime commodity affordable for all. 

Just like the other cooperatives, they were more than grateful for the love and support of the government on the frontlines of agriculture, especially the guidance and strong leadership of the LGU and the management and coordination of the government agencies as they take off and transform from mere palay farmers to agri-prenuers, thus providing diversified income and sustainable livelihoods to the members. 

Corresponding to the timely observance of Cooperative Month with this year’s theme, “ Cooperatives: Pioneering the Path to Recovery Amidst Modern Challenges of Climate Change and Food Security,” is to give tribute to the 18, 848 operating cooperatives in the country, as of 2020 cooperative statistics, that were designed and organized for decades to build sustainable communities in rural areas as the members enter a bigger market to participate and excel fairly in economic activities and contribute to nation-building. (NGPB/PIA-Surigao del Sur)