From individual community members nestled in barangay Tanglagan, Calanasan, Apayao, to becoming united as a credit cooperative is what fueled the Tanglagan Multi-purpose Cooperative (TMPC) to becoming a multi-millionaire within 19 years of operation since its organization in 2000.
With their sacrifices and cooperation as a group, the cooperative has already accumulated total assets of Php16.8 Million as of 2019 which is being fully utilized for its more than 400 members that extended beyond the community covering parts of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Cagayan, and its nearby barangays and municipalities such as the municipality of Luna.
The cooperative said that their involvement with the different interventions from the Department of Agriculture (DA) has boosted their capital and overall performance as a coop in their community. Their participation started with the Barangay Food Terminal (BFT), the High Yielding Technology Adoption (HYTA) Program, and the latest which is the Rice Resiliency Program (RRP).
Revisiting TMPC’s humble beginnings
The TMPC was organized in 2000 due to the members’ need for formal community association and capital every start of the cropping season.
For more than 10 years of building the cooperative on their own, the Diocese of Tabuk, Kalinga lent them P100,000 and the LGU of Calanasan provided them a grant as an incentive of doing a good performance.
The DA, having observed the good performance of the Cooperative provided funds to purchase grocery items, refrigerators, freezer, and weighing scale necessary to operate the BFT in 2013. After a year of operation, the group was able to double the amount provided which they rolled over again.
Engaging with the DA’s HYTA Program
The HYTA through the DA’s Rice Banner Program was introduced in the community in 2013. The Program is seen to be one of the biggest factors in increasing its capital and membership. It provided free quality rice seeds and fertilizers as well as fund amounting to Php618,000 following the “Grant Recovery Roll Over” scheme. In here, the coop shall in turn distribute the seeds and inputs to their individual members, payable after harvest, at an interest rate of 2% to be paid after cropping season. The income generated formed part of their capital to be used to procure seeds and fertilizers in the next cropping season.
This greatly increased the coop’s capital. The Php618,000 HYTA fund being rolled over became Php1.4 million.
When the Rice Banner Program personnel visited the community in 2015, they saw how the coop wisely managed the HYTA Program. Thus, the coop was awarded a Php1.6 million-worth combine harvester which they received in 2018.
The continuous engagement of the coop with the DA has encouraged more farmers to join the coop. Starting 2015, the membership increased to more than 400 members catering beyond the community to as far as Ilocos region and Cagayan.
“There are many organizations that were organized and one is the TMPC which became successful because they worked it out,” Municipal Agriculturist Luisa Magna said.
Engaging more farmers with the RRP
The RRP which is a nationwide project of the government started in 2018 in the community and its first distribution was managed by the TMPC. Since there was no masterlist at that time, the coop equally divided the inputs to its members who are rice farmers regardless of land area. For excess inputs, these were offered to non-members.
The rice farmers expressed that the RRP is very helpful to them especially with the reduced expenses in buying seeds and fertilizers every cropping season. Brgy. Captain and RRP beneficiary Mr. Isidro Andres said that they spend Php5,000-Php9,000.00 in rice seeds alone every cropping.
Under the Program, only 50% of the total amount of the hybrid seeds and fertilizers was paid by the farmer-beneficiaries. The payment is added to the coop’s fund increasing its overall capital.
Ms. Vilma Sao, another RRP beneficiary, added that through their savings and income in RRP1, they were able to buy a carabao worth Php21,000 that currently aids them on the farm.
During the RRP2, the TMPC was tapped again following already a masterlist and criteria.
Increased services and investments
The coop has bought a lot in 2016 worth P100,000 where their two-story building amounting to Php1.3 million was put up and completed in 2017. The first floor is mainly for the bakery while the second floor lodges the store and BFT.
The coop also gains income through lending its equipment and vehicle. For the combine harvester, the coop gets one cavan in every 10 cavans of harvested palay. During its first year of operation, the coop accordingly gained more than 100,000 cavans of palay because there is only one harvester back then but it is significantly fast. Another is the elf which they lend mainly for purchase and transport of goods at a minimal fee.
In 2019, because of their good performance and active members, the coop was again awarded by the DA with one grain bagger and collector. All of their services are guided by their set rules and regulations which were crafted in a participatory manner.
From their humble beginnings to continuously rising above as one, the coop was able to rise from Php9,000 starting capital to Php16.8 million total assets as of 2019.
To date, the group is working on their fishpond area for tilapia production.//JBAgrifino