The Simbuco Aqua-Marine Multi-Purpose Cooperative (SAMMPC), recipient of the Philippine Rural Development Project – Investment for Rural Enterprise and Agricultural Productivity (PRDP I-REAP) Subproject: “Seaweeds Semi-Processing & Marketing Enterprise” personally meet the consultants from the World Bank who are in the province to visit the seaweeds production site and the post-harvest facilities in Barangay Simbuco, Municipality of Kolambugan on November 12, 2019.

Mr. Eli Weiss headed the team of experts in assessing the implementation and the impact of the project in the community and in the lives of the seaweed farmers and discussed issues and other concerns faced by the cooperative which need to be addressed to advance and sustain growth during the open forum held at the Barangay Hall Cover Court.

SAMMPC Chairman, Mr. Teodolo A. Bueno, Jr. answered inquiries and clarifications from the team including Department of Agriculture Assistant Secretary, Dr. Andrew Villacorta with Regional Director Carlene Collado, asking the humble beginnings of the cooperative and the inspiration behind that motivated them to engaged in seaweed farming.

The Cooperative was formed in 1993 and registered fisherfolk organization under Cooperative Development Authority with registration number 9520-10003265 with 20 initial members and having a capital of P 3,000.00. Today after 25 years, 189 members are actively working together and helped increased the net worth to P 997,429.00.

From the production of seaweeds, the cooperative expanded to consolidation, trading and consumer store to satisfy the basic needs of the seaweed farmers while waiting for the sales proceeds. Members as well as non-members of the cooperative utilizes the post-harvest facilities of the cooperative like the solar dryer.

Chairman Bueno, Jr. thanked the World Bank for the financial assistance it had extended to its cooperative and the unwavering support of the Provincial Government of Lanao del Norte, and the Department of Agriculture through the PRDP I-REAP Subprojects such as the 1 unit of Hauling / Delivery Truck, 2 units Motorized Boat (Fiber Glass), 4 units Heavy Duty Tarpaulin, 2 units Solar Dryer on Sea with Warehouse, and the 800 kg Raw Materials.

In the near future, SAMMPC will engage in food processing by mass producing crackers made from seaweeds which they have exhibited at the forum and sincerely appealed to World Bank consultants to continue providing financial assistance for the success of their future endeavors. PIO-LDN