Alfreda Lanticse, former chairperson, and current vice chairperson of the board at FFCC, has been at the forefront of the cooperative’s remarkable decade-long journey. From its inception in 2011 with a modest 26 members, FFCC, short for Fairtrade Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative, has evolved into a thriving community of 187 members.
Initially rooted in credit and loans, FFCC expanded its ventures amidst trials and challenges along the way. The cooperative diversified into various enterprises, including banana chips production, banana trading, coconut trading, vermicast production, and coco husks chips production. One of the essential shifts occurred in their approach to coconut trading, with a commitment to offering fair prices to their farmer members.
The entrance of the Integrated Rural Development Foundation (IRDF) opened new doors for FFCC. Partnering with Franklin Baker became a game-changer, elevating the income of coconut farmers and establishing a secure market for their products. The challenging but worthwhile pursuit of organic certification positioned FFCC in higher markets.
The impact on the local community is evident. Jobs were created, particularly benefiting women and men who previously faced employment uncertainties. The strategic partnership with IRDF and Franklin Baker streamlined their supply chain, providing an express lane for their products and introducing innovative income-generating projects like coco husks chips production.
Beyond market access, IRDF provided valuable training, transforming FFCC from mere producers to entrepreneurial entities. Organizational enhancements addressed challenges such as member participation, fostering a sense of community through strategic planning and efficient clustering.
Dr. Russell Celis, the current chairperson of FFCC, emphasizes the economic benefits derived from engaging in ventures with certified organic farms. The once-dismissed coconut husks became a revenue stream, further emphasizing the cooperative’s commitment to sustainability.
The voices of the workers, like Carmela Lanticse Creincia and Renela Ditablan, add a human touch to the narrative. They express gratitude for the opportunities created by FFCC and IRDF, highlighting the positive impact on their families and the broader community.
In closing, the acknowledgment to partners like DANONE resonates deeply. Their contribution is seen not just as a financial investment but as a catalyst for positive change within FFCC and the community it serves.