The Vicmico Planters Association Inc. and its cooperative continue to extend various services and implement support programs for its hundreds of members who are mostly agrarian reform beneficiaries, its press release said Tuesday, September 28.
The Vicmico PAI, one of the biggest planters’ groups in Negros Occidental, released incentives, facilitated bank loans and cash advances, quedan financing, fertilizer assistance and made available farm equipment and other farming implements for use of planter-members, among others, amid the difficulties triggered by the slowing down of economic activities since the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic early last year, association president Aurelio Valderrama Jr. and chairman Jose Ma. Montinola, said.
Close to P1 billion in services, investments, including capital outlay for equipment acquisition and infrastructure, had been reported by the Vicmico PAI, Valderrama said.
“These are services that the Board of Directors had been extending to planter-members. These incentives and support programs are unique only to Vicmico PAI members,” explained Valderrama, adding that it is doubly rewarding for the association to support their 1,500 members, 86 percent of whom are agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) or small farmers tilling no more than 3 hectares on the average.
Vicmico PAI met one of its biggest challenges in decades following the recent move of Victorias Milling Company, a publicly-listed firm, to end its 30-year business relations with the group after association leaders and members raised in an open letter VMC’s poor milling efficiencies, onerous policies and lack of transparency in its manner of selling raw or refined sugar that drags down prices to a certain extent, the press release said.
They are also trying to collect about P3 million from the mill management for their 0.5 percent participation from weekending Sept. 9 to Dec. 2 for crop year 2018-19 and the price differential of 0.3 percent participation for weekending Dec. 9, 2018 to the end of CY 2019-20 on top of the yet-to-be-computed participation on the planters’ bagasse used to generate electricity that could also run to millions of pesos, Valderrama said.
Cooperative general manager Christnerlyn Lingamen, in a report to the Vicmico PAI Board, said that the association’s incentives and sugar price support in the last three years amounted to P20.3 million; cooperative- generated sales for members of P506.55 million; cooperative-extended Land Bank loans, P82.8 million; investment for mechanical harvesting and trucking services, P47.65 million;
Investment for transloading stations, P44.7 million; crop and molasses loans, P23.64 million; pesada and cash advances, P17 million per year; value of lands and buildings, P85 million; quedan financing line, P150 million; working capital line through Land Bank, P50 million; tractor and farm implements importation, P41.41 million; fertilizer, farm chemical supplies, farm implements, truck tires sales, P50.55 million average per year; rat bait program, P300,000 per year, and high yielding variety (HYV) cane points program, P600,000.00 per year.*