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Catigbian Coop: Banking on people
« on: June 16, 2007, 04:13:52 PM »
by Rey Anthony Chiu

Catigbian, Bohol - WHEN God entrusts small things, He wants to see what people do with bigger responsibilities.

This characterized the experience of some 29 members of the Mantacida United Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MUFAMPUCO) who in 1992 put up P5 as capital build up.

Banking on the goodness of people, with P245 they pooled as starting capital, grew into a cooperative that would soon earn its modest million and still cater to farmers' needs, minus the hassles of commercial banking.

Now at 14, Mufampuco assures clients of their loan proceeds in an hour, as it has intentionally transferred business office at the Poblacion so compliance of requirements can be facilitated, says a farmer loan beneficiary chanced upon by the media.

"We started offering small loans to our farmer members. But we have to make sure that there is an efficient collection system. Small time farmers always come to use our money", Mufampuco manager Maricel Rulida said in an interview.

Last week, in a gesture of gratitude for partnership with the local media, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Belgian Integrated Agrarian Reform Support Program (BIARSP) gave a close-out tour to partners as they showed impressive project sites. BIARSP is set to break camp this year after very fruitful years of partnership with DAR and empowering local people's organizations.

In Poblacion Catigbian where Mufampuco has quasi-banking operations base, media members were ushered to the building, where the coop loan central processing holds office. There, media group interacted with coop personnel and the Board of Directors complete in formal attire and who smartly responded to questions.

The key is organizing themselves as one, against debilitating poverty and backward farming technologies, shared DAR information Officer Ma. Lydia Bantugan during a briefing.

While loans may not fare well with farmers used to grants then, Mufampuco decided to gamble, perhaps the business would be going down, but not without them offering a good fight, Catigbian Sangguniang Bayan secretary said.

According to Catigbian Vice Mayor Fortunato Concon, the change happened with the help of the DAR and the BIARSP. Farmers slowly learned the wise ways attained by binding themselves. Only by a great force can people unburden themselves of the poverty loaded upon their shoulders.

With a little infusion of more capital at P150T from BIARSP, Mufampuco widened its services and ventured into savings, time deposits, rice-mill operation, livelihood assistance through animal dispersal projects, farm equipment rentals and now into water and sanitation projects operation, manager Maricel Rulida added.

Now 14 years later, and boasting of 994 members, the cooperative has accumulated more than P5M assets and has been expanding to address the gap in services that at times fail to get to their farms, says Mufampuco chairman Catherine Napinas.

And 14 years later after the seeds of cooperation were sowed, Catigbianons have somehow reaped the fruits, though they admit they have to take good care of the coop, which to them is the goose that lays the golden eggs for them. (PIA, June 15, 2007)

070608-r7-mufampuco - Catigbian Coop: Banking on people - Catigbian - Bohol
MUFAMPUCO manager Maricel Rulida shares to the members
of the media the humble beginnings of the coop. (PIA)

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