File photo: Aquaculture farm of SONAMCO in Sumaliring, Siaton, Negros Oriental.

Dumaguete City, October 6 – Southern Negros Agri-Fisheries Multipurpose Cooperative (SONAMCO) won the Central Visayas search for SETUP PRAISE Award for MSME. The coop is a client-beneficiary of the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) thru DOST Negros Oriental.

“Daghan kaayong Salamat! We owe this achievement also to DOST at the provincial and regional levels as well because they all were and are always there to provide the needed energizing environment within which SONAMCO was and is able to perform,” said Mr. Juven Chavez, manager of SONAMCO.

The cooperative will receive P5,000 cash and a plaque of appreciation as provincial winner. It will also receive another P20,000.00 cash and a plaque of appreciation as regional winner.

SONAMCO is the official entry of DOST VII to the national search for SETUP PRAISE Award for MSME. Coveted awards include Most Productive, Most Innovative, Most Sustainable and Most Resilient MSME. The national winner will be announced during the virtual National Science and Technology Week celebration on November 2020.

“The nomination and recognition of SONAMCO as outstanding SETUP adoptor for Negros Oriental is a testament to the leadership of Mr. Juven Chavez. He has shown the passion, the management flair, and excellence needed to run a community-based enterprise that has reached the borders outside of the Province of Negros Oriental. They have provided shrimp and milkfish to the National Capital Regional, parts of Cebu, and parts of Mindanao. So, I really commend Mr. Chavez and his team over at SONAMCO for the job well done and congratulations!”, commends Atty. Gilbert R. Arbon, Provincial S&T Director of DOST Negros Oriental.

SONAMCO availed the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) in 2012 worth P999.800.00 for its water aeration and water quality monitoring technology upgrading for improved milk fish and shrimp production in Bais City, Negros Oriental.

In 2016, the cooperative approached DOST Negros Oriental to avail of the DOST SETUP for the 2nd time. In the same year, its proposal worth P1,980,000.00 was approved. It upgraded its aeration system technology to improve the productivity of its aquaculture farm in Sumaliring, Siaton, Negros Oriental.

During the course of the implementation of the SETUP Project, the coop hired additional 7 regular employees from an existing of 37. On-call workers are now 136 from an initial of 92 workers. Production of shrimp increased by 44%, from 450 metric tons to 650 metric tons per annum. Annual milkfish production also increased by 60%, from 75 metric tons to 120 metric tons. Due to faster growth of the milkfish, the coop increased its boneless milkfish production to 1,200 kg from 150 kg weekly.

Aside from DOST, the coop is also a recipient of various projects from other national government agencies.

SETUP PRAISE Award for MSME is formerly known as Best SETUP Adoptor. It is a yearly search for the best clients of the science agency’s Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program. (Reinhold Jek Y. Abing, SRS II-DOST Negros Oriental)