Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Bro. John Castriciones yesterday turned over two coconut post-harvest facilities worth P2.8 million to farmers belonging to the Linabu Agrarian Multi-Purpose Cooperative (LAMPCO) in Balingasag, Misamis Oriental.
Implemented through the Convergence on Value Chain Enhancement Growth and Empowerment or Project ConVERGE, a foreign-assisted project funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the provision of the post-harvest facilities will benefit 312 coconut farmers responsible for the cultivation of around 1,500 hectares in the area.
“These facilities were provided to enhance the support being given to them so that they will be able to continue and improve more the quality and be at par with the goods that are being sold in the international market,” Brother John said.
Brother John said the two post-harvest facilities will be utilized for the coco sugar trading, marketing enterprise, and processing of coconut into coco sugar by the farmer-members of LAMPCO.
“Because of the success of the coco enterprise of LAMPCO, these facilities were provided to continue to uplift the lives of local coconut farmers and its employees,” Brother John said.
Faisar Mambuay, National Project Manager of Project ConVERGE said the two facilities measures 80 square meters.
“One building will be used solely for the processing of coco sugar. The other building will be used for packaging and stocking of the packaged products,” Mambuay said.
Organized in 1997, LAMPCO started as a microfinancing cooperative. It was composed of 140 members from the community who were looking for ways to help support each other.
But like many startup enterprises, its beginnings were beset by financial and management challenges. Soon it overcame the initial challenges and saw the potential of coconuts, which is the main source of livelihood in the community. Many members of the cooperative were copra producers.
Its shift to coco sugar production was not an easy path for the cooperative. But with the help of the DAR and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the organization was able to convince its members of the potential of coconut sugar.
With coconut sugar as its main product, LAMPCO slowly and steadily created a sustainable enterprise to support its members and its community.
Today, LAMPCO is a leading manufacturer of coconut sugar in the country.