First Agrarian Reform Multipurpose Cooperative (FARMCOOP)

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Laruk, Kisolon, Sumilao, Bukidnon

Brief History of the Cooperative

On September 30, 1990, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) divested it Coffee Operations. The move would have resulted to the complete and total dislocation of some 430 regular employees and farm workers living within the vicinity of the plantation. Together with the plan to divest was the decision to turn over and donate the productive assets through the government’s Agrarian Reform Program to its regular employees including the standing crop of 1,000 hectares of coffee by a Deed of Transfer and the transfer of the leased areas owned by various land owners covered by the Deed of Assignment documents.

The beneficiaries were then organized into what is known as the First Agrarian Reform Multipurpose Cooperative (FARMCOOP) and was registered with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) under certificate of registration QC-032 as a primary multipurpose cooperative. With the assistance of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), training programs were designed and conducted to develop the capabilities of the employee beneficiaries to effectively own and manage their farm enterprise. The co-op is also supported by local and national government organizations, NGO’s and other line agencies.

When the cooperative assumed the properties from San Miguel Corporation (SMC), it continued its coffee operation and exporting its product to Japan. The source of funds was the Php 6.7 Million capital share of the members and Php 28 Million donated capital from SMC and external borrowings from financial institutions mostly from Land Bank of the Philippines. At the start of the co-op operation in October 1990, some 296 members became regular workers in the coffee plantation project.

After a year of operation, the co-op diversified to other crops like corn, provided custom plowing and other post harvest facilities as part of the donated assets of the SMC.

In the midst of the unfavorable world market price of coffee in 1993, the workforce had to be trimmed down to 133 worker-members, leaving some of the members unemployed. This was followed by reorganization of the management team, until it decided to go skeletal for 3 months. Many of the members decided to render voluntary service or “pahina” in order to cope with the organizational financial crisis and helped maintain the assets of the organization. The situation got worst that it posted an accumulated loss of Php 29 Million in its operation, Php 15 Millions for the first 5 years and additional Php 14 Millions from 1996-2000.

In 1998 the FARMCOOP has entered into Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the DOLE Philippines, Inc.- STANFILCO Division to produce quality export bananas in a 300-hectare area within the property of the co-op and some individual landowners. This is for the period of 15 years. In this agreement, DOLE –STANFILCO to finance all the inputs in its banana operation including labor cost, technology and marketing.

The organization then pursued its plan to diversify its operation into 7 major divisions, namely: 1) Banana; 2) Corn; 3) Processing; 4) Engineering;       4) Consumers ; 5) Credit ; 6) Tilapia; 7) Storage/Warehouse facility.

Tha Banana operation is a partnership venture of the cooperative and North Skyland, a Division of Dole, Philippines. In the said undertaking, the co-op manages the day to day affairs, supply the manpower requirement and the land to be used in the operation. The Skyland on the other hand, provides the financial, technical and marketing of the produce.  

There are about 50 hectares devoted to corn production. This is considered the cash-crop since gestation period of the crop is only 4 months.




Post Harvest Facilities

One of the important assets donated by SMC to the cooperative is the post harvest facilities like the dryer. This is being used in the corn operation and caters to the needs of the neighboring farmers in the area who may wish to use it for a fee.


Engineering Operation

This handles the hauling and mobility needs of the cooperative. Presently, engineering is equipped with a farm tractor, a Nissan bida, 2 multicabs, 8 units isuzu elf, 1 unit Fuzo fighter, and 1 unit 10-wheeler truck. These services are also catering the needs of customers outside the co-op.

 

Consumers Merchandising Operation

This was established to cater the needs of the member-workers of the co-op. The consumers business became very promising and has expanded its operation in Barangay Kisolon, Sumilao, Bukidnon.



Credit Operations

This operations started as cash advances against salary addressing petty cash requirement of coop member-worker, later upgraded into credit services. Today credit operations offers the following services; salary loan, capital share loan, livelihood/productive loan, kaibigan trust fund – for medical requirement of the coop members.

Warehouse/Storage Operation

Another undertaking was the operation of storage/warehouse located in the center of the poblacion right near the national highway which lately, is being rented by the Monterey Foods, Inc.                                                  

As part of the expansion program, the cooperative is forging an agreement for contract growership with the Monterey Foods Corporation in hog-raising venture.                                                                


Other Operations

Tilapia culture is one of the latest undertaking of the coop. Currently 9 cages were being maintained. Cages were located in irrigation water sump of the banana plantation. With favorable output, the cooperative is planning to commercialized the tilapia production, accomodating the needs of the members and hopefully, Barangay Kisolon itself.

 

The Organization’s Vision and Mission

Vision

“ WE ENVISION FARM COOPERATIVE, AS A SELF RELIANT, STABLE AND SOLIDLY FOUNDED COOPERATIVE THAT PROMOTES THE WELFARE OF ALL ITS MEMBERS”


Mission

“ TO PROVIDE QUALITY PRODUCTS AND SERVICES THAT WOULD GENERATES SUBSTANTIAL ECONOMIC RETURN FOR THE MEMBERS AND IMPROVE THE LIVES OF ITS EMPLOYEES”


The Organizational Structure

 

  1. The General Assembly is composed of 202 regular members and 400 associate members;

  2. Board of Directors has nine (9) members who serves the institutional policies for the cooperative with the different committees to assist for the implementation; Aside from the mandatory committees provisionary bodies were created by the BOD which include the Legal, Amendments, Livelihood and Consumers Committees;

  3. Management Team takes care of the day to day operations of the cooperative. It is composed of a Cooperative Manager, 2 department Heads, 9 supervisors, and support staff. Although the cooperative principle are respected, farm management is run efficiently like a business.

                          

COOPERATIVE’S BEST PRACTICES

FARMCOOP is compliant with the provisions of the “Philippine Cooperative Code of 2008” such as :

  • There is regular or yearly election of officers for elected position;
  • Filing of annual reports to the Cooperative Development Authority;
  • Periodic scheduled training of elected officers and management team;
  • Transparency of all matters involving cooperative operations and development;
  • Conduct of the mandatory meetings: General Assembly – 3rd or 4th week of May; Special General assembly where necessary; Quarterly Ownership Meetings; regular meeting of the Board and Committees;
  • Quarterly audit by the Audit and Inventory Committee;
  • Yearly Audit by an External Auditor engaged by the Board
  • Formulation of the “Operation Policies and Procedures” prepared and approved by the Board foe every section/department handling projects and support service operations that will guide the Management Team in the implementation of the cooperative short and long term plans/programs accompanied by development plans and budget approved by the general assembly;
  • In terms of salaries and wages, the cooperative follow the Minimum Wage Law for rank and file workers (regular or casual employees). For those skilled and supervisory/managerial positions, the cooperative give higher pay depending in its qualifications, work experience and the present assigned responsibilities;
  • The cooperative has 51% active working members. It has conducted skills trainings to update their expertise and efficiency. In line with the continuous education program, it seeks on-going training/assistance in the strengthening of the organization to help the cooperative move towards economic stability. The address the manpower requirements of the co-op operation, the members and their dependents are given priority. (Mr. Vernie Castillo, General Manager).

 

 

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