A Homegrown Restaurant Stands Through BuB Fund
Thelma S. Sigue, Chairperson of the Wilson Agra Multi-Purpose Cooperative (WAMPCO) in the Province of Dinagat Islands is positive of San Jose’s emerging tourism industry. With its gift of nature, she is confident that more tourists will come when infrastructures are established.
Having the entrepreneurial character of seeing through the opportunity, and with only the presence of carenderias and eateries in the municipality, WAMPCO found it viable to put up an alternative restaurant that would serve as a comfortable and cozy stopover for important guests and tourists wanting to enjoy good food. Fund sourcing was then in the coop’s meeting agenda.
It was fortunate that the consultation for BuB project funding came at the right time. Through the collaborative efforts of the cooperative, DTI-Povince of Dinagat Islands ( PDI) and LGU San Jose, the PHP 1.0 Million project proposal was approved for Mabuhay Dinagat Restaurant and Catering Services business. The fund is intended for its operating capital, capability enhancement, utensils and other equipment. Showing confidence on the viability of the chosen business, WAMPCO matched BUB fund with its PHP 1.7 Million counterpart to construct the building for its restaurant business.
Since its launching in October 2015, Mabuhay Dinagat Restaurant is now considered a go-to destination for locals wanting to treat their guests. It has employed 5 regular workers with 20 on call servers when there are bookings for its catering services. Sales is doing good from walk-in, orders and catering services.
With the support provided by the LGU of San Jose and the DTI, the cooperative is slowly working on their vision of helping the tourism industry of Dinagat Islands. WAMPCO also received assistance from the Department of Labor and Employment ( DOLE).
Organized in 1996, the cooperative started with of 15 members. Today, it has grown to 600 members. WAMPCO hopes to get past the 1,000-member mark.
Building Community Enterprise: A Tough Job
Tried at least 5 livelihood projects in a span of 7 years and all of it were short-lived that caused financial losses to KAAGAP Development Multi-purpose Cooperative (KAAGAPMUCO). But with strong determination and taking lessons from every failure, KAAGAPMUCO now serves the bigger pie in the market for coco net in Caraga region.
It was in 2010 when coco-coir technology was introduced to KAAGAPMUCO by the Philippine Coconut Authority ( PCA). It started with 15 twining machines, 2 loom-weaving equipment and 1 decorticating machine. Its production capacity then was only 30-50 rolls of coco net per month with a total value of PHP 125,000.00 only. In 2012, KAAGAPMUCO started to have production problems and had difficulty serving the growing market demand.
Mr. Maximino Robles, a diligent manager of KAAGAPMUCO discussed his problem with DTI-Agusan del Sur. He cannot allow for this business to have the same fate of their previous livelihood projects. KAAGAPMUCO is not exempt from the usual organizational setbacks. But surviving in a number of failures, KAAGAPMUCO is bound to succeed.
KAAGAPMUCO was offered a Shared Service Facility ( SSF). Massive training expanded to 11 barangays of San Francisco through the DTI- Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) to prepare and cope with bulk orders. In 2013, DTI granted PHP .5 Million worth of SSF ( 85 units manual twining machine, 10 units electric twining machine and 13 units loom weaving equipment).
Today, KAAGAPMUCO operates in full capacity with 400 workers (men and women) spread in 11 communities of San Francisco. Monthly production of coco net grows from 50 to 300 rolls with a total market value of PHP .7 Million. In 2014, sales amounted to PHP 8.0 Million and rose to PHP 12.0 Million in 2015.
With mining companies in the region and several other contractors of the Department of Public Works and Highways ( DPWH) as its regularly customers, KAAGAPMUCO breaks its records of the past. Its coco net business will surely live longer to provide income not only to the coco farmers but to the jobless women and out of school youth. Coco net has important uses; one is to prevent soil erosion.
KAAGAP Development Multi-Purpose Cooperative (KAAGAPMUCO) of Agusan del Sur is a testament that even through shared ownership of a community enterprise, it is possible to overcome difficulties through perseverance, determination and teamwork.
KAAGAPMUCO began as a small farmers organization established in 1991. It was officially registered with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) in June 14, 2004. The production area is located in Hubang, San Francisco, Agusan del Sur.
Enterprising Farmers: Moringa Leaves To Powder!
Five years ago in Jabonga, Agusan del Norte, an enterprising group of farmers forming the United Farmers of Cuyago, Inc. (UFCI) began planting moringa (malunggay) trees believing that someday, they will supply fresh moringa leaves to local buyers and processors.
True enough, UFCI began the production of fresh moringa leaves and soon sold them under the guidance of the Agri-Aqua Development Coalition (AADC), an NGO operating in Jabonga which capacitates farmer-organizations, enabling them to engage in viable economic activities. In fact, UFCI was able to secure a tie up with a processor before their first harvest.
The deal was to buy the leaves in bundles from the farm at P8.00 each kilo. The first few transactions in the following months ran smoothly, but the contracting buyer suddenly stopped its operations, leaving the farmers market-less. The group’s investment of P780,000 for the 39 hectares plantation was then at risk. Not only that, employment and other potentials would be lost if the operations come to a halt.
With the knowledge that DTI could help them, UFCI along with AADC visited the DTI Agusan del Norte Provincial Office to ask for assistance. DTI then conducted project evaluation and a series of consultative meetings with the organization to assess the business’ viability. It was decided that the provision of SSF for Moringa Powder Processing was the necessary intervention.
The group was then provided with SSF worth P645,000 comprising of one unit Moringa Leaf Dryer, one unit Moringa Leaf Pulverizer, one unit Computing Weighing Scale, two units Stainless Steel Tables and one unit Impulse Foot Sealer. To further improve the production process, LGU Jabonga also allocated P367,000 to the organization for the renovation of their building.
The group now employs 102 moringa farm workers and 13 moringa powder processors. The SSF has been operational for 17 months and has managed to increase the enterprise’s production capacity from two tons to four tons of fresh moringa leaves per month. The organization now produces moringa powder and flakes and sells it at P350–P600 per kilo. UFCI was also able to increase their monthly sales from P16,000-P20,000 on fresh moringa leaves to P30,000-P35,000 on flakes and powder.
Based on research, moringa leaves have high nutritional value as it contains seven times the vitamin C in orange and even four times the calcium of milk, among others. UFCI’s product line now include the moringa capsule, moringa tea, and the 3 in one moringa beverage. These are currently displayed in the local OTOP Pasalubong Centers and the Negosyo Center in Butuan City.