Striving to revive production areas damaged by a typhoon in 2015, the Hungduan Micro Finance Development Cooperative (HMFDC) took an initiative to help its members revive their livelihood and augment their losses.
HMFDC Manager Evelyn Biniahan said majority of their members took loans from the cooperative that time where almost 85 percent of the farmers’ source of livelihood in Hungduan was lost when rice terraces, vegetable gardens, forest lands, and several infrastructures were damaged and left the community in economic distress.
“Bumagsak ang kanilang kabuhayan dahil sa bagyong nanalasa noong 2015, kaya nag-loan sila sa kooperatiba upang matustusan ang pangangailangan ng kanilang mga pamilya at makabawi sa nasira nilang pananim,” Biniahan said.
The HMFDC is a primary organization initiated by the Central Cordillera Agricultural Program in 1997 that gradually evolved into a savings and loan association in late 2000. They finally registered as a micro-finance cooperative in October 2003 initially with 48 members.
Since then, the cooperative focused on developing available resources in the community, strengthening the financial capacity of its members, and capacitating its members and/or the community to manage resources and create services for their mutual benefits.
The HMFDC increased its membership to 1,132 after opening its doors to interested farmers from neighboring municipalities. While majority of their members are rice farmers, many of them have also invested in swine raising as additional source of income.
Because of the consistently rising demand for pork, the HMFDC proposed a micro enterprise subproject under the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rural Development Project to support typhoon-affected farmer-members and provide an alternative or additional source of income.
As part of their enterprise subproject, 150 heads of piglets were initially given to the cooperative in 2018, including 22 sacks of starter feeds, 252 sacks of grower feeds, and 144 sacks of finisher feeds delivered to them in tranches and distributed to eligible members of the cooperative.
“Ngayon, nasa ikapitong ikot na ang karamihan sa mga miyembrong nabigyan ng piglets noong 2018, at nagkaroon na rin sila ng inahing baboy para sila na mismo ang magpadami,” she added.
Biniahan said members were able to pay their loans and even expanded their backyard pig production. Other members opted to return the full investment cost of the piglets and feeds they received to the HMFDC for other members to benefit as well, and continued their swine raising venture at their own expense.
A member profits around P3,000 to P4,000, excluding expenses.
To sustain the project, the cooperative collects one percent from the total sales of each recipient as capital build-up, aside from the total investment cost provided.
After realizing continuous gains, the cooperative envisions to expand its business for future endeavors of the enterprise.
Biniahan said the cooperative plans to engage in meat processing and establish a common slaughterhouse for food safety purposes and to consolidate and market the pigs of their members.– Elvy T. Estacio