Land Bank of the Philippines has approved a new loan to the Goodyear Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative (GARBEMCO).
The loan, approved on Sept. 17, 2019, will be used by GARBEMCO to finance its working capital requirement for rubber production, rice milling and trading, consumer store, and fishpond and abaca production.
GARBEMCO manages a rubber plantation in Goodyear, Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay and is currently one of the major rubber producers in the area.
In 2018, GARBEMCO provided jobs to 321 individuals. They harvest around 600 bales of crumb rubber per week, which are packed at 33.33 kilos per bale. GARBEMCO sells these bales at P60 per kilo, mostly to the local market, and some to areas in Cebu and Cagayan de Oro.
According to GARBEMCO general manager Lilia Manuel, the rubber plantation has been a profitable venture for the coop, as supplemented by other businesses including credit operations, fishpond operations, abaca production, handicraft making, consumer store, rice field rental, rice milling and trading and hauling services.
The partnership between GARBEMCO and Landbank started in 1995 when the coop was still in its early years and was suffering from low production due to hectares of senile rubber trees. When the bank extended an agricultural production loan, the coop was able to rehabilitate its plantation and managed to transcend the challenges in its operations.
Another loan was extended to GARBEMCO in 2012, which the coop used for replanting purposes covering a total area of 238 hectares. This helped the coop further grow its rubber business.
From being besieged by various problems, the cooperative has now grown and is reaping the rewards of sound operations. Apart from making the necessary reorganization in the management team, it also made efforts to improve its operational capacity through trainings on risk and capacity building, among others, under the supervision of the Landbank Countryside Development Foundation Inc.