Last June 24-26,2010, Pasali Philippines Foundation in partnership with EED under the FSS-SRI project, conducted a 3 day seminar about how to organize and manage a cooperative in Durian Garden headed by Mr. Timotheo Pupa, guest speaker from a farmer’s cooperative in Surigao City. The said seminar was participated by 18 Pasali staff , farmers and volunteers.
I learned that a cooperative must operate in the goal of alleviating poverty among its members. There are things that a cooperative can do that an individual farmer cannot. The pulling of resources together ( both cash and goods) makes it possible for a farmer community to have the expensive equipments they need.
Also, it is easier for a cooperative to sell its products than an individual farmer. In a cooperative, farmers will just have to consolidate their products and sell to a trader under a marketing agreement.
” If the cooperative will do its part, the government will do its part.” A crucial part of a cooperative is to protect its name. This must be of HIGH priority. Every March, the Cooperative Development Authority(CDA) issues a certificate of good standing to any cooperative that incurs no debt, has a good bookkeeping and has the external auditor statement.The said certificate is important for a cooperative to be accredited by the Sangguniang Bayan. The accreditation will pave a way for the support of the government.
To avoid price war, the coop can invite middle men into it. Middle men/ traders are the cause why farmers don’t get the price that they want. In order that there will be a value- chain process, the products of the farmers must go straight to the manufacturers or actual consumers.
A coop must have a clear, written rules of engagement to avoid conflict of interest among its members. If a cooperative gets bigger, chances are, some members might want to invest more to increase their share. Also, nonmembers might want to get in.
A cooperative can easily lobby at the government than an individual farmer.