"Idol ko ang SIDC!" (SIDC is my idol!)
"If SIDC can do it, maybe we can also dream that someday we can do it too."
"Napakaganda ng Lakbay Aral na ito. Ibang iba sa mga study tours na nasalihan ko." (This study tour is very beautiful. It is very different from the other study tours I have joined.)
These were some of the enthusiastic reactions of the participants during the closing ceremony of the exchange visit organized by Sorosoro Ibaba Development Cooperative (SIDC) in Batangas last May 16-19, 2022.
Managers, board members and staff of agricultural cooperatives who are part of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded project, Generating Rural Opportunities by Working with Cooperatives (GROW Coop) from Mindanao came to Luzon in order to get to know SIDC up close and see for themselves how its various business are being operated and managed for the benefit of its members.
Under the GROW Coop project being implemented by Agriterra, SIDC acts as a Local Resource Organization (LRO) for 6 of its chosen Growth Oriented Agricultural Cooperatives ( GOACs). The cooperatives include Lucky Modern Farmers MPC, SRT Tacurong City Cooperative of Sultan Kudarat, Bai Saripinang Farmers MPC, Fareast Agricultural Seeds MPC, Polayagan Farmers Credit Cooperative, and Sayap MPC.
The 6 GOACs are all engaged in yellow corn production and have been in discussion with SIDC since 2019 on how they can supply the latter's increasing demand for the main raw materials for its expanding feed mill production.
In his opening speech, Cong. Rico Geron, Chief Executive Officer of SIDC said that the cooperative is expanding to more areas in the country in order to reach more farmers and offer the businesses and benefits of being a member of an agricultural cooperative such as SIDC.
The Lakbay Aral was aimed at building confidence in SIDC by showing the GOACs how their produce, yellow corn, is being processed into feeds and becomes part of the cooperative's integrated and diversified businesses. The areas visited in SIDC showcased enterprise-based establishments and strategic investments that support the needs of SIDC’s members. They also showed how all the enterprises capture transactions with members so the cooperative can deliver the patronage refund.
The Lakbay Aral also included an opportunity to meet and interact with SIDC’s Board and Management and hear members success stories and SIDC’s role in it.
With the goal of improving agricultural cooperatives in Mindanao to increase their participation in the yellow corn value chain and enhance their access to more lucrative and dynamic markets through collective action, SIDC is providing capacity building activities such as training, business advice and exchange. The Lakbay Aral is a local version of Agriterra’s international exchange visit by cooperatives to the Netherlands.