Improving value chain participation of agricultural cooperatives through private sector partnership


PHILIPPINES – East-West Seed (EWS), the global leader in the tropical vegetable seeds market, launched a capacity-building partnership initiative for seven (7) farmer cooperatives on July 22, 2020, as part of the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID)-funded Generating Rural Opportunities by Working with Cooperatives (GROW-Coop) project. 

The GROW-Coop project is implemented by Agriterra with the goal to expand rural livelihood opportunities and boost rural households’ incomes by facilitating the development of large and successful local cooperatives, federations, and other aggregations/partners of cooperatives to become “Local Resource Organizations” (LROs). These LROs will provide in-depth mentoring and support for growth-oriented (small, micro, and medium) agri-based cooperatives focusing on capacity development and value chain expansion. 

LROs are well-trusted organizations that are seen as “hubs” for ideas and resources. They are the “connectors” and “influencers” that others can go to for help, advice, or expertise. 

In line with its mission to increase the income of smallholder farmers and promote the growth and quality of the Philippine agriculture industry, EWS committed to become one of the four LROs of the GROW-Coop project. 

Agriterra is building the capacity of LROs, like EWS, on cooperative governance, financial management, and sustainable services, and providing linkage to a network of experts and cooperatives for knowledge exchange. 

Henk Hermans, General Manager of East-West Seed Philippines, shared, “We are honored to be part of the GROW Coop project. We share the same belief that farmers and their cooperatives are key players in promoting sustainable rural development. When farmer cooperatives are organized and run professionally, they become instruments in providing employment opportunities, increasing food production, and improving food security and nutrition in their communities.” 

Through the GROW-Coop project, EWS will support the development of cooperatives by building their capacity in the areas of governance, financial management, and agri-marketing. EWS is aiming to help seven (7) cooperatives with a combined membership of 5,400 farmers.

Aside from providing extensive experience and expertise, EWS treats these cooperatives as its main partners in providing the general public access to good quality vegetable seeds, providing the farmer-members a steady source of livelihood. EWS hopes that they will remain its strong partners to help the country further grow and improve the agriculture industry.
The seven cooperatives expressed their full commitment to the GROW-Coop project. As shared by Jocelyn Domingo, CEO of one of the cooperative-beneficiaries, this project will enable them to further improve their organizations, become development catalysts in their communities, and continue to be reliable partners of EWS.

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