Coconut farmers excel in coco processing

kaagapmuco
A short orientation regarding the coco coir industry and the organization’s integrated processing center was led by KAAGAPMUCO’s General Manager Maximino Robles during the visit of the officers/representatives from National Convergence Initiative for Sustainable Rural Development. (Photo by Fretcher Magatao)

Agusan del Sur, Philippines – It was the zeal to excel together that made the group of coconut farmers and hog raisers to unite and form one organization.

Thus, the Kaagap Development Incorporated (KaDI) was organized by Mr. Maximino T. Robles, Jr. in 2002 with 16 members and PhP 8,500 initial capital. Hog raising was the sole activity of KaDI with members individually raising hogs in their respective sites.

To diversify the business and increase capital, KaDI made an organizational fusion in 2003 with Hubang Small Coconut Farmers Organization (HSCFO) whose main line of business was micro lending. The neworganization was registered in the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) and Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) andbuilt the name Kaagap Multi-Purpose Cooperative (KAAGAPMUCO) in 2004 with 202 members and Capital Build-Up (CBU) of PhP 202,000.

After the formation of the organization, KAAGAPMUCO engaged in micro lending, copra and dehusked nut buying where members enjoy the availment of loan and sell their products in the organization. The system maintained the loyalty of the members.

To add products and additional employment to the business, the organization started producing virgin coconut oil (VCO) and bio-diesel after attending trainings conducted by PCA. The production of VCO needs at least 6 full time workers based on the demand with the organization’s market and costumers. Since the organization has been apparently very active and the business is profitable in the community, PCA–Agusan del Sur assisted them in availing the 1 million-pesoloan for additional capital and expansion from UCPB-CIIF through the MATUTUPAD Project.

The breakthrough of their business started in 2008 where the Department of Agriculture–Caraga (DA-13) and PCA through Regional Manager Ramon R. Barbosa supported the organization in availing the financial assistance from the Agencia Española de Cooperacion International Para el Desarrollo (AECID) through the Strengthening of the Agro-Industrial Sector for Bicol and Caraga (SAIS-BC) Project. DA identified KAAGAPMUCO as an eligible recipient of the 9 million-pesoaid from the project which comprises the physical infrastructures, capability building and market assistance. They also received additional support from the Land Bank of the Philippines under regular loan and agrarian production credit program amounting to 2 million pesos.

From then on, the members were more inspired to work for they already have a working shed for coco coir processing, 3-phase power line, hauling truck, large weighing scale and a kukum drier. The needed machines for processing were also added to them such as decorticating, sieving, twining, weaving, welding and baling curn compacting machines. All of these physical properties aided for better production of their products.

“Because of the support and guidance from the Department of Agriculture, our dreams came into reality. The management and members of the organization were able to witness the expansion of the business,” said Mr. Maximino T. Robles, Jr., KAAGAPMUCO General Manager.

The Department of Agriculture–Caraga in coordination with PCA also assisted the organization through workshops and trainings on machine operation and maintenance, basic bookkeeping and simple accounting, value chain development and management, leadership and management training, strategic planning, business planning, cooperative strengthening, cross-visits and benchmarking. Market matching and participation to trade fairs were also assisted by the Department.

Through the interventions given to the organization, the integrated coco coir processing center was established. Since then, they were able to provide jobs to 210 full time workers and a source of income to informal sector through the conversion of coconut husks into fiber, twining of coir fiber into ropes, weaving of coir ropes into coconets and the making of biologs.

Since there has been an increasing demand for coconets in the mining industry, the organization has outsourced with the well trained coconet workers that meet its standard of productionin the neighboring municipalities of Rosario, Prosperidad, San Luis and Bayugan City.

Not just providing jobs, but also livelihood to jail inmates which the organization has trained in producing the same products in Lianga, Bislig, Tandag, Provincial Jail of Agusan del Sur and the Butuan City Jail.

The usefulness of coconets mainly upholds a better environment through the bio-engineering application of protecting the lands against soil erosion caused by mining activities. It is said that at the rate of 20 hectares per month, it will take 125 years to rehabilitate the 30,000 hectares mined-out area in Caraga Region alone. Within the context of erosion control, the use of coconets is highly recommended as an effective natural product to prevent erosion, or restore and maintain the land damaged by erosion in natural condition.

The members of KAAGAPMUCO have also been enjoying the health benefits for their patronage of virgin coconut oil, the product known for its anti-bacterial properties. The management makes sure that there is an allocated percentage of product patronage to the devidend of the members.

The organization especially recognizes its active and fulltime workers which are provided with free life and accident insurance and offers pension opportunity to monthly consistent consumer of VCO and consumer goods within 15 years from the date of membership.

As of December 31, 2016, the organization’s financial statement shows a total asset of PhP 11,450,549.68 with a total equity of PhP 9,425,446.56 which depicts constant growth since it started its operations.

Because of strong leadership and proper management, the government has recognized the efforts done by the organization in helping its members and other farmers improve their living. They were able to reap the recognition as one of the 2014 Top Ten Most Outstanding Community Enterprises by the Villar Foundation under its Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governace (SIPAG) Award and received the PhP 250,000 cash award. (Fretcher Magatao 02/16/2017, ruralevolution.net)

 

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