Rubber farmers from Silingan, Zamboanga Sibugay had their innovative marketing scheme witnessed by other cooperatives and rubber farmers’ associations from the Municipality of Titay during its Market Day last January 20, 2020.

The Silingan Rubber Farmers’ Association (SIRFA) is one of the 22 participating Agrarian Reform Beneficiary Organizations (ARBOs) in the Salipyasin Agrarian Reform Community cluster which implemented the competitive bidding scheme to further expand their market. It sold over 16,800 kilos of rubber cup lumps in the most recent Market Day.

Various Project ConVERGE-supported ARBOs’ Chairmen and Managers came along to observe how SIRFA did their process. These include Malagandis Rubber Farmers Association (MARFA), Small Water Impounding System Association (SWISA), Culasian Supit Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative (CUSARBENCO), Subanen Kipit Farmers Association (SUFASS), Palomoc Agrarian Reform Benefeciaries Multipurpose Cooperative (PARBEMCO), and Rodriguez Estate of Palomoc Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association (REOPARBA)

As part of the activity, SIRFA’s Chairman Mr. Charlie Divinagracia gave a short orientation to the witnessing ARBOs regarding the bidding scheme, so that they could also discuss and assess how to incorporate it in their organizations.

Divinagracia considered this event an opportunity to have their scheme replicated by neighboring cooperatives. “Using this scheme in our association has helped us increase our market, which has helped our farmers. It would be a great help to those who want to replicate this scheme.” He added.

The invited ARBOs gave their positive remarks after witnessing the innovative scheme. Majority of them were open to replicate it to their own cooperatives. Others were also open to tapping on to collaborating with SIRFA by bringing their produce and consolidating it with the association.
Mr. Armando Feriolan, PARBEMCO’s Manager was one of the witnesses who plan to tap into SIRFA’s scheme and collaborate. He considers the bidding scheme effective as the buyers will come to them, and prices for their rubbers will increase because of the competitive bidding.

The scheme
An innovation in their scheme is the use of technology, to entice bidders from various areas to bid from them.
Interested bidders would only have to give their phone numbers to the Chairman for them to be included in the list of bidders. The bidding process would then start with a text invite to the interested buyers, introducing the product, volume available, and the participating barangays where they will be consolidating the rubber cup lumps. Once bid closes, SIRFA would evaluate the offers by referring to various reference prices (Malaysian Rubber Exchange) and choose the winning bidder by then.
The winning bidder then visits the different rubber farmer areas to consolidate and weigh the rubber cup lumps.
During the market day, the winning bidder’s representative, Mr. Prudencio Laluce Jr. of neighboring town Naga visited the SIRFA headquarters to consolidate the rubber cup lumps by weighing and picking them up on each farmer station.

Farmer’s Remarks
SIRFA farmers are happy with the bidding scheme as it had helped them sell their produce and get better income.
Mr. Moises Caingcoy, a farmer, said that the implementation of the bidding scheme deemed a good cause for them. He emphasized the increase in their income and the volume of rubber cup lumps he has sold.
“This scheme is better than our previous process that we were doing.” Caingcoy answered when asked whether the current process was effective for them. He added that it gave them assurance that the highest bidder would be buying their produce.

Rubber cuplumps being consolidated into the winning bidder’s truck