Everything big starts small, Surigao del Sur’s cooperative story
A thousand becomes a million… a small idea becomes a big dream to advance in life through cooperative ways.
While sitting at the table and approving loan applications of its members, Manager Maryjane Magamayo talked about their organization, the Ugoban Multipurpose Cooperative (UMPC).
“Managing a coop is a big challenge, various problems can be experienced. Through hard work, continuous work of its officers and the cooperation of each member, UMPC achieved its success,” an introductory statement made by Magamayo.
UMPC is a primary agrarian reform beneficiary organization (ARBO) in Tagbina, Surigao del Sur, whose central business is the consumer store and the microfinance lending.
The UMPC’s consumer store started with a small capital of Php1,500.00 built by its fifteen (15) members. They have managed it well and currently it has grown to over Php1.4 million and has reached 500,000 pesos’ average profit a year.
“Ugoban Multi-purpose Cooperative (UMPC) was organized by the Philippine Paper Industry Corporation of the Philippines (PICOP) in 1990 within their Community Development Organization Program. In 2004, due to the formation of an agrarian reform community in the municipality of Tagbina province of Surigao del Sur, UMPC became one of the cooperatives assisted by the Department of Agrarian Reform. Poverty, no accessibility to the market and expensive prices of basic needs were the reasons that motivated us to venture in consumer store and microfinance lending business”, Manager Magamayo recalled.
Microfinance was introduced by DAR in 2016. It started when UMPC officers attended the training on microfinance conducted by the DAR through Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Development Sustainability Program (ARBDSP) program under the Enterprise Development & Economic Support (EDES).
Lending money to UMPC members has made it possible for them not to go to banks anymore to get loans for their farming and other needs. Most importantly, members earn a patronage refund compared to other lending institutions.
As of December 2021, 145 members have already availed of its loan services amounting to almost P5-million.
“To increase the business and income of our coop, and help our fellow farmers, we started informal microfinance lending. The DAR conducted free training on microfinance lending so we could make the business run properly. They introduced to us the correct system on how to operate this kind of business. From then on, it has grown from a small capital investment of Php180,000.00 to P6.2 million within (5) five years. Until now, our coop has successfully sustained the microfinance lending business,” said Magamayo.
UMPC is a group of 302 agrarian reform beneficiaries and farmers of rice, corn, and coffee, and so far, the co-op has addressed the problem of their members to have a capital for farm production at a lower interest rate.
UMPC has come a long way. They have continually responded to the needs of the community. Even if the cooperative is in a remote area, it is no longer difficult to buy daily requirements because of their consumer store. Access to credit of its members is no longer a problem anymore.
Some of the things that have contributed to the stability and the cooperative are the strict implementation of their policies especially in the collection of members' fees, improvements in systematizing financial and non-financial records, continuous training for its hardworking officers and most importantly, the cooperation and support of all members to comply with all policies of their organization.
“Various projects and training conducted by DAR have added to the maturity and stability of our cooperative. Today, even though the pandemic continues, we have survived with the assistance of the government through DAR. We feel the government, and this is the government we believe in,” Mangayo proudly said.