DOST-assisted farmers’ coop helps secure food for Butuan residents during pandemic
BUTUAN CITY, April 21 — Filipinos love rice. It is a staple to every fulfilling meal. However, with the current public health crisis requiring everyone to stay indoors, many families could not make proper livelihood thus affecting them financially. Food security is very crucial especially this time of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
A DOST SETUP (Department of Science and Technology’s Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program) adoptor and a farmer-millers cooperative in Butuan City stepped up to help Butuanons have enough food on the table.
The Butuan Agusan Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (BAFMPC) partnered with the local government unit of Butuan for a food security program and has committed to provide quality milled rice during the quarantine. As of April 18, 2020, BAFMPC has served a total of 2,100 bags or 105,000 kilos of rice distributed to six barangays including Taguibo (500 bags of rice), Sumilihon (800 bags), Los Angeles (400 bags), Sto. Niño (100 bags), Baobawan (100 bags), and Ambago (200 bags).
BAFMPC, formerly known as Los Angeles, Damoog, Mangabao (LADAMA) Multi-Purpose Cooperative, started its operation in 1988 as an irrigator’s organization offering rice production services, lending, and palay trading to its members. After 20 years in rice farming and milling, BAFMPC acquired a state-of-the-art Multi-pass Milling Facility with complete accessories for rice polishing and whitening through the SETUP. The project costs Php 2,971,000.00 and since then has greatly impacted the operations of the firm.
From 20 bags of grains per hour and only up to 60% recovery rate, the cooperative now mills 40-60 bags of grains per hour or approximately 400 bags per day, with 67% recovery rate of rice after milling. The increase in the production volume helped increase the income of the coop and the farmers. Through the program, the cooperative also availed of the Manufacturing Productivity Extension (MPEX) consultancy program and technology training which helped them improve their product, plant layout, business operations and marketing strategies.
BAFMPC also assisted its members through the distribution of food packs containing 3 kilos of rice, canned goods and other grocery items. A total of 2,000 food packs were given to 800 regular and 1,200 associate members of the cooperative.
The manager, Manuelito Suan, said that it is the responsibility of the cooperative, and as farmers, to ensure that people have food to eat this time of crisis. It is also one way to promote the products of the farmers and their role in food security. The firm continues its operation to support the need, especially during the quarantine.
BAFMPC is the 2019 Best SETUP Adoptor for Agusan del Norte and among the finalists at the regional level. (Aliana Gene E. Sarmiento, S&T Promotions Unit, DOST Caraga/PIA Agusan del Norte)