While the cooperative movement have well-innovated into different forms through the years, its very essence, simplified through the seven cooperative principles, remains the same.
In the effort to foster these principles, the Federation of Peoples’ Sustainable Development Cooperative (FPSDC) along with the consortium of cooperatives is set to roll out the Agriterra-led project, Generating Rural Opportunities by Working with Cooperatives (GROW Co-op). For this program, FPSDC will serve as one of the Lead Resource Organizations (LROs) whose role is to assist and mentor different Growth-oriented Agricultural Cooperatives (GOACs) in various areas such as governance, marketing, and finance among many others. Other LROs within the consortium include Sorosoro Ibaba Development Cooperative, AgriCoop PH, East-West Seeds and LANDBANK Countryside Development Foundation, Inc.
GROW Co-op, a 2 1/2 -year USAID funded program, is an initiative that perfectly captures the cooperative principles of education, training and information, cooperation among cooperatives and concern for community. The project exemplifies these principles for it aims to expand rural livelihood opportunities by developing the capacities of local cooperatives through the help of the project’s LROs.
The institution of the GROW Co-op Project will serve as a perfect complement to the existing Handholding in Viable Enterprises (HIVE) Program of FPSDC which was launched last year during the 23rd Annual General Assembly.
For FPSDC, GROW Co-op will be institutionalized through the implementation of the HIVE Program particularly for Coco Sugar and Black Garlic. In the duration of the GROW Co-op Project, at least six GOACs will be identified as partners to be trained and mentored.
Ultimately, by the end of the project, GROW Co-op seeks to attain specific accomplishments which includes 25 strengthened cooperatives, 5,000 benefitted cooperative members, 20 new purchase agreements, $1M non-donor investments and 1 Agri-Coop Development Roadmap crafted.
Looking ahead, the GROW Co-op project would indeed be a perfect intervention especially with the assumptions for a post-Covid situation. Through this program, the concern on food security could be addressed since the farmers will be empowered enough to close the value chain gap that distances the producers from the consumers. Agriterra is a Netherlands-based non-profit agri-agency that supports farmer cooperatives and organizations in developing countries. FPSDC has been a partner of Agriterra since 2018.