CARB MPC’s triumph fuels growth in Apayao’s banana industry

Date Published: April 16, 2024

by Elvy T. Estacio (RPCO-CAR Writer)

In the lush valleys of Apayao, where agriculture has always been the lifeline of the communities, bananas have emerged as a vital source of livelihood alongside traditional crops like rice and corn. 

However, in recent years, the banana industry has faced significant challenges due to climate change-related hazards, threatening the income of local farmers.

Amidst adversity, the Calaoan Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative (CARB MPC) in Conner, Apayao saw an opportunity to revive banana production and uplift the living conditions of its members.

In 2018, under the leadership of former BOD chair Reinier S. Bilan, now the banana enterprise project manager, the co-op grabbed the opportunity presented by the Department of Agriculture – Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP) to breathe new life into the local banana industry.

Despite facing the challenges of establishing a start-up venture, the co-op remained firm in its mission to improve the income of its members and establish a common consolidation center for bananas in Conner.

Through their collaborative efforts and unwavering dedication, the co-op secured funding and support from the DA-PRDP and the Provincial Government of Apayao. Despite initial hurdles, including the onset of the pandemic, CARB MPC’s perseverance paid off. 

In addition to the construction of a consolidation center, they also received a delivery truck, banana trading supplies and materials, and a working capital worth PhP150,400.00 which jumpstarted their enterprise operations in September 2021.

“Maraming negative feedback ‘nung inumpisahan namin ito kasi may mga byahero na ayaw nilang masingitan. Pero mas nangibabaw kami dahil mas madami kaming mga myembro na nagtatanim ng saging, itinuloy parin namin. At natutunan namin sa aming pag bibyahe na kaya naman pala naming ibenta ang saging namin sa tamang presyo. Hindi gaya noon na binabarat kami, ngayon hindi na. Mas hawak namin ang presyo ng aming saging,” Bilan expressed.

With support from local vendors, processors, and wholesalers, CARB MPC was able to overcome market challenges and began to thrive.

Roshel Canite, the co-op’s manager, proudly shared that the banana enterprise has become the largest source of CARB MPC’s income generating more than PhP347,000.00 as of December 2023.

“Nu kitam gamin ti financial operation, kasla 50% nagapu iti banana enterprise. Ket nagdakelan nga tulong ti member haan lang nga kadagiti agit ited ti saba ti matulungan no di ket buo nga members ti co-op ta since dakel ti income ti co-op, dumakel met ti patronage ti mysa ken mysa. Dakel mtlang nga tulong kadakami nga staff ta nu dumakel ti income, ingato da met ti salary mi (When you look at the financial operation, you would notice that 50% of the cooperative’s income was generated through the enterprise. It really benefits not only the members who sell their banana produce to the cooperative but the staff as well. Because if the cooperative generates a higher income, the cooperative also raises the salary of the staff),” Canite shared.

Farmers like Jose W. Segundo also attest to the benefits co-op members like him enjoy through the cooperative. 

“Dakel ti naitulong na daytoy ka-ada na daytoy PRDP project para kenyami ta las-od idi ag rugrugi kami paylang nga agsabsaba ket kakaasi kami nga malunglungsotan ti saba, haan nga maal ala ti saba mi ta gapu awan ag-gatang, awan pangiluganan, awan amu tayo nga pangilakuwan nga asideg. Idi ada met daytoyen, dakel unay gna yaman ta isuda pay ti umasideg nga mapan mangbirok kenka , sika pay en ti kasla pwersaen da nga agmula. Ken mysa, mejo nangatngato ti presyo da kesa kadagiti private nga agal ala metlang ti saba (The PRDP has greatly benefited us because ever since we started producing banana, we were always disheartened for our harvests that were spoiled due to lack of market. There were no market or buyers nearby. But when this [enterprise] was implemented, we were beyond grateful because they [CARBMPC] would even reach out to us and urge us to plant more banana), shared Segundo.

With steady buying prices, prompt payments, and the convenience of a nearby consolidation center, farmers found a reliable partner in CARB MPC. Their membership has significantly increased and even exceeded the annual target outlined in their business plan.

The cooperative’s success not only improved the livelihoods of its members but also strengthened the local banana industry, providing a ray of hope amidst uncertainty. With each banana sold, CARB MPC paves the way for a brighter future, where Apayao’s banana industry thrives and opportunities abound for all who dare to seize them.

Facebook Twitter Email