While the island of Palawan is consistently featured for its pristine white beaches and other wildlife biodiversity, this archipelago province is brimming with robust grounds for farming. 

In Narra, Palawan, a first-class municipality south of the center of the province, a major livelihood activity is rice farming and production. The Elvita Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (ELFAMCO), a duly registered cooperative by the Cooperative Development Authority in Narra, contributes significantly to the history of rice farming in the province. With decades of practice in alleviating the lives of farmers in the community, ELFAMCO has over 160 farmer beneficiaries connected to its organization. These farmer-beneficiaries are composed of agrarian reform beneficiaries and non-agrarian reform beneficiaries from Barangay Elvita and its neighboring barangays in Narra, Palawan.

The persistent farm floods, however, posed a problem to the income generation of the farmers. This of course was not the end of the road for them as they turned to government agencies for aid.   

ELFAMCO sought out a partner in the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to fulfill the cooperative’s value-added business model.

Through DTI’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), the cooperative was provided with an extensive set of business development assistance. From the necessary business consultancy sessions to free training and seminars, and market and product development activities, DTI CARP remains to be instrumental in its value-adding initiatives. Since the year DTI started its interventions for the cooperative, they were given productivity training and seminars on Food Safety in the New Normal Phase, Business Techniques towards e-Marketing, Skills Training on Rice-Based Processing, Coping with New Normal Business Trends and Challenges. Moreover, under market development, ELFAMCO underwent market matching and participated in provincial and regional trade fairs. They were also a recipient of free promo collateral services from DTI Palawan’s CARP. 

These interventions helped ELFAMCO commercialize their produce and offer rice-by products to the market. 

Elvita Farmers MPC’s “Kapi A Baga”, a rice brew with malunggay

In order to establish their brand and reputation, DTI CARP also assisted the cooperative with their trademark application with the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines. 

Jeanalyn Capilo, Assistant Manager of ELFAMCO, expressed her gratitude for DTI CARP’s product development assistance for the cooperative’s rice-by products, saying “Nag-improve ang product label ng aming produkto”. 

Notably, their number of permanent employees and part-time processors increased after DTI’s interventions, contributing significantly to the productivity and efficiency of their operations.

Their vision of success transcends to their community as they continue to take an active and positive social role through school feeding programs, donation of rice and groceries to concerned groups, and the accommodation of free transportation for its members across the municipality during floods. 

In a brief statement, Capilo showed the cooperative’s response to DTI’s support, “We are truly grateful for the help extended to by the DTI CARP”. ♦

Date of release: 10 August 2023