PHILIPPINES – Sorosoro Ibaba Development Cooperative (SIDC) is one of the largest agri-based cooperatives in the country with 40,725 members nationwide. SIDC’s 3 main businesses are feed milling, savings and loans, and consumer retailing. Despite the growth the coop has achieved, SIDC is still in an expansion mode and constantly sees this as opportunities for more farmers to be part of its value chain.
CEO Cong. Rico B. Geron states that, “with the increasing demand for raw materials for our feed mill, we see that this is a huge opportunity for yellow corn farmers in the country which drives our need for strong and reliable value chain partners. We are addressing this by expanding our sourcing to agricultural cooperatives in Mindanao and providing them capacity building support.”
As a staunch advocate of helping agricultural cooperatives and their members, SIDC sees that this could be done by empowering the smaller agri cooperatives, increasing their participation in the agricultural value chain and enhancing their access to more lucrative and dynamic markets through advise, training and exchange. This is now being supported through their partnership with Agriterra in the USAID Generating Rural Opportunities by Working with Cooperatives (GROW Coop) project seeing that this initiative will contribute to the improvement of the lives of the farmers.
Agriterra is training SIDC on its systems and tools for capacity building and advisory services to better perform its role as a Local Resource Organization (LRO) in the GROW Coop project. As an LRO, SIDC will be an organization that smaller cooperatives go to for help, advice, or expertise. Thus, they will be supporting other local organizations to better serve their communities. SIDC will provide in-depth mentoring and capacity development support to sub-performing (small, micro and medium) agri-based cooperatives. This will improve operations and provide steady income streams for the smaller cooperatives given the assured demand streams, and at the same time, improve SIDC's overall supply and business operations.
The partnership of Agriterra and USAID in GROW Coop will focus on agricultural cooperative development that is enterprise-driven, more inclusive and locally-led. It is envisioned that GROW-Coop will help these cooperatives in their journey towards self-reliance; towards a better future where sustainable enterprises provide their members, the farmers, better income and increased food security for the country.