Empowering Farmer Cooperatives Through the Cocofarmcoop: The Luisiana’s Experience

The Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) Region IV-A Extension Office, in collaboration with the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), has begun its planned programs for the development of coconut farmers’ cooperatives to ensure the full implementation of Republic Act No. 11524, also known as the “Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act.” This CDA-PCA Partnership Project aims to strengthen cooperatives of coconut farmers, by providing them with the necessary capacity to improve all facets of their operations.

The Louisiana Cacao Grower Producers Cooperative from Sitio Dapi, Brgy. San Jose, Luisiana, Laguna is one of the recipients of the assistance as a registered cooperative on May 22, 2018. The group began as an association, but after learning about the advantages of being a cooperative, they set out to transform. The cooperative grows cacao and manufactures cacao products. In their operation as a farmer’s cooperative, they have encountered difficulties in administrative work and their cacao production. The processing has been slow due to the use of processes done through manual means and forms. Reporting, paperwork, and research take much of their time as they do not have any equipment to make the process easier. Another factor to this difficulty is their know-how on highly technical matters as they admit they lack in this area.

The cooperative is constantly thriving due to the high demand for chocolate and other cacao-based products however with the group aiming to increase their production and income and become one of the leading tablea producers not just in Laguna but also in the country, they need to increase their production volume.

In December 2022, the cooperative was granted their financial assistance through the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan (CFIDP) amounting to PhP 250,000.00. They purchased a set of computers and an additional butter separator to realize the cooperative’s goal to improve their organization and their operation.

According to the cooperative, the computer set aided in paperwork and reporting, and the additional butter separator allowed them to produce more cacao products. They were able to save money because the computer system simplified the production of forms and reports. They can generate more income for the cooperative and its members as they develop more products using their butter separator.

Part of the CDA’s assistance to the cooperatives is the training in various fields of operation. Some of the training conducted was Fundamentals of Cooperatives, Good Governance and Management for Cooperatives, Bookkeeping, Strategic Planning, and Policy Formulation. The seminar and training equipped the cooperative members in many aspects. The knowledge and skills they acquired enabled them to manage the cooperative and train their people to replicate what they have learned.

“Ang Luisiana Cacao Grower Producers Cooperative (LCGPC) ay taos-puso pong nagpapasalamat sa biyayang ipinagkaloob ng CDA. Umasa po kayong pagyayamanin at palalaguin namin ito.” This heartfelt message was posted by the cooperative dated December 15, 2023 following the awarding of the financial grant at the Nawawalang Paraiso, Tayabas City, Quezon.

As our cooperatives work harder for the fulfillment of their vision and goals, the CDA will continue to support the sustainable development of cooperatives and promote their role in contributing to the economic and social well-being of the communities they serve.