FMPC 2024

VSU’s dependable partner in cassava production, the Fatima Multi-Purpose Cooperative (FMPC) finally realized its own Root Crop Processing Plant, considered the biggest facility in the region.

It has been a dream of the cooperative to establish this new facility that will hopefully make them become an economic catalyst in the Visayas region.

Through partnership and cooperation, on February 8, 2024, PhilRootcrops joined the launching of FMPC’s Root Crop Processing Plant in Brgy. Astorga, Tunga, Leyte. 

“What initially seemed like a modest plan by the Fatima Multi-Purpose Cooperative together with PhilRootcrops and other concerned entities has evolved into a tangible facility, geared towards filling development gaps in the root crops industry, particularly in meeting the rising demand for primary root crops products among food processors,” as Prof. Marlon M. Tambis, Assistant Director of Philippine Root Crop Research and Training Center (PhilRootcrops), quipped.

FMPC already has a long transformative journey in root crop-related enterprise, which started as cassava dried chips as assembler for San Miguel Food Inc. (SMFI) with the support and funding from the Landbank of the Philippines back in 2010.

Guided by a vision to uplift vulnerable rural communities, the coop has been relentless in expanding its venture into root crops. Amid challenges like the devastation of Typhoon Yolanda in 2013, a strong partnership between PhilRootcrops and VSU started.

Being the national center dedicated to root crop research and extension, PhilRootcrops provided invaluable support, propelling FMPC’s cassava venture forward. This collaboration not only boosted agricultural productivity but also empowered marginalized stakeholders, including rebel returnees, to engage in cassava production.

A year later, PhilRootcrops, FMPC, and CARE Philippines joined forces to combat postharvest losses, a persistent hurdle in root crop processing. Through collaborative efforts, innovative solutions such as the durable concrete-type multipurpose tapahan dryers were identified. This strategic alignment underscored a shared commitment to agricultural innovation and community resilience.

With the expertise and guidance of PhilRootcrops and the Technology Business Incubator Program of VSU, FMPC embarked on a new venture, unlocking new avenues for growth and market expansion.

On top of that, the coop diversified its portfolio, venturing into the processing of cassava, sweet potato, and ube into high-value food products. This diversification not only augments revenue streams but also fosters inclusivity by creating opportunities for smallholder farmers.

With aspirations to establish a cassava starch processing facility in the future, FMPC embodies hope for economic development in Leyte and beyond.

As the cooperative charts a course towards greater resilience and prosperity, the PhilRootcrops will continue to create potential grassroots research and extension initiatives with the use of roots and tubers.

Last year, PhilRootcrops and FMPC went together to Bangkok, Thailand for a learning visit in the Yunus Center, Asian Institute of Technology to benchmark on their successful cassava industry. 

The launch received strong support from various stakeholders, collaborating in the hope of driving sustainable development in its local communities. Among the agencies that attended the event were DOST-PCAARRD, DA Region 8, Cooperative Development Authority, Department of Industry Region 8, TESDA Eastern Visayas, Philippine Rural Development Project, Southern Leyte Lending Center, Agriterra, Local Government Unit of Tunga, PhilRootcrops, and VSU.

[Photos courtesy of Gabriel Cillado from the Extension Office]

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