Buenavista Bagoong Producers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (BBPMPC), founded by 25 fisher folks from a small town in Marinduque, strives to promote special Asian condiments in a journey that enabled success through community development.

Sailing against the waves of the past, the members faced an uncertain future as daily catch steadily dropped below their subsistence needs because traditional fishing techniques were threatened by several laws and regulations such as the use of fine mesh net, fishing closed season, and harvest control rules and reference points. In a striking statement made by one of the members, “I can’t afford to eat what I catch.”

Instead of sailing beyond the horizon of uncertainties, the members opted to apply the traditional way of fish processing into sauce and paste. The cooperative sold their products at the local market even with known risks. They also bring sustainability to the community by packing fish paste and fish sauce products in recycled bottles bought from different junk shops. Six (6) months of fermentation of fish sauce was done in the make-shift type of processing center situated in a piece of the lot the association is renting.

It was in 2014 when the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – MIMAROPA through the Marinduque Provincial Office enrolled the cooperative as a cooperator of the Shared Service Facility (SSF) project to best help the production of fish paste and fish sauce.

The Municipal Local Government of Buenavista issued P400,000 interest-free loan assistance to the cooperative. The amount was paid for a 660 square feet parcel of land established for the production building.

In 2017, the cooperative had also acquired financial assistance from Manila Water’s Foundation amounting to P200,000 without interest. With the member’s perseverance and hard work, the amount was settled in full in February 2018. Manila Water’s Foundation recognized the cooperative effort in contributing to the local community and awarded them last 2019 with one unit of laptop.

To further enhance member’s entrepreneurship skills, they participated in the Kapatid Mentor Me, SGS Kaagapay Program, and attended to Food Safety Seminar, Financial Management Training, Project Proposal Write shop, and Traceability Orientation among others. Under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and One Town One Product (OTOP) Program, the recycled bottle packaging was enhanced with the provision of food-grade packaging and compliant label. The cooperative logo was Intellectual Property Office trademark registered and a barcode was also awarded to them. The product was tested and passed the laboratory analysis giving the BBPMPC the competitive advancement to the local market.

From seven direct employees, currently, 12 fishermen members regularly supply their fish catch to the cooperative for P600 per 50 kilograms. During fish processing, members are paid P70 for hauling the fish offshore to the production building. Also, 57 individuals acquired part-time jobs from the cooperative. With this, BBPMPC received the SSF with Highest Jobs Generated recognition at the Regional SSF Summit in September 2017 and December 2019.

Moreover, the cooperative is benefiting from the fees collected for the use of the SSF equipment. The cooperative charges the equipment user P20.00 daily for the use of the grinding machine as another revenue stream.

Now, fishing is more than an industry to the 21 individual fisherman members of BBPMPC, it is their way of life. Their fish paste and fish sauce are must-haves in every household in the province. The bold umami flavor coming from these condiments/cooking ingredients is a great pair to boost any dish.

Bottles of anchovy sauce and paste

Ms. Matilde Panganiban Fatalla of BBPMPC was invited to guest on Agripreneur Live, a nightly online show hosted by renowned journalist, Jiggy Manicad, to talk about how to start a bagoong business.

Forward sailing in favor of the waves has anchored BBPMPC to find the golden mesh into modernized fish processing.♦

Date of Release: 5 May 2021