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Vendor group transforms to become premier co-op with own line of pineapple-based products

Labo Progressive Multi-Purpose Cooperative officers led by General Manager Mario Espeso (6th from left) with LANDBANK Officers and staff led by Senior Vice President Lucila E. Tesorero (5th from left). (inset) Workers process freshly-picked pineapples into world-class products.

LABO, Camarines Norte --- From its humble beginnings as a small group of public market vendors who started a paluwagan (an informal savings-and-lending group) back in 1987, the Labo Progressive Multi-Purpose Cooperative (LPMPC) has since grown to become one of the largest cooperatives in Camarines Norte and a leading force in pineapple farming and trading in the province.

The co-op’s turning point happened in 1995 when a powerful typhoon devastated the province. It was also that year when its partnership with the Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) came into fruition.

“When typhoon Rosing tore down LPMPC’s office that year, LANDBANK helped us out with a loan to purchase the 1.3-hectare piece of land where our new office now proudly stands,” recalled General Manager Mario Espeso.

Today, LPMPC’s main headquarters now features a training center and several other buildings for its financing and agribusiness projects such as organic fertilizer, virgin coconut oil, and handmade paper production.

LPMPC is a recognized pioneer in integrated pineapple production and processing. Knowing fully well the importance of value chain, the group purchases pineapples produced by farmer-members which are then processed into various pineapple products under the brand name “Queench”.

The Queench line includes pineapple juice drinks, jams, dried pineapple, and jellies. Trained LPMPC craftsmen also produce pineapple fiber from the leaves that are then made into handmade paper and hand-woven cloth marketed as Formosa Manos.

Even at the height of the government-imposed lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 health crisis, LPMPC continued to safely buy the produce of farmer-members or match them with buyers. This provided its members a steady source of income, the pandemic notwithstanding.

LPMPC also provides job opportunities for locals, hiring employees for their credit and savings operations, and workers for the various agri-enterprises, including weavers and hand scrapers of pineapple leaves. Inmates of three (3) nearby district jails serve as fiber knotters and are given an extra source of income while serving time.

The co-op has expanded to include four branches and one satellite office across the province catering to its more than 7,000 members. It also took over the management of the Agri-Pinoy Trading Center, the Provincial Agricultural Trading Center in Camarines Norte.

Over the last 25 years, LANDBANK serves as one of LPMPC’s major partners in growth. Aside from financing the co-op’s working capital requirements, LANDBANK—through its subsidiary, the LANDBANK Countryside Development Foundation, Inc. (LCDFI)—conducts free capacity-building seminars and offers skills training and cooperative management scholarships for members.

LANDBANK recognizes the importance of co-ops in local development, particularly in the agriculture sector. As of August 2020, the Bank’s outstanding agricultural loans reached P224.66 billion, of which P20.86 billion was extended to 1,081 cooperatives and farmers’ associations.

For more information about the LANDBANK’s Lending Programs, contact the nearest open LANDBANK Lending Center or Branch nationwide, or call LANDBANK’s customer service hotline at (02) 8-405-7000 or at PLDT Domestic Toll Free 1-800-10-405-7000.

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