In a world dominated by competition and commercialism, cooperation is a must to survive and prosper.
The Sta. Ana-San Joaquin Agrarian Reform Cooperative (SASJ ARCoop) in Pandan, Antique is a perfect example of an organization that went through a lot of organizational setbacks in the past but managed to rise, and with Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) assistance has kept the flame of cooperativism burning.
SASJ ARCoop started from a Php50,000 capitalizations for their Copra and Rice Trading Projects.
The Department of Labor and Employment under its Kabuhayan Program provided P997,154 financial assistance to the organization in November 2021 that enabled the cooperative to trade copra and rice in volume.
After almost a year, the 51 members of the Copra and Rice Trading Projects, who are coconut farmers, received their first profit sharing from the 50% of the organization’s net income from January to June 2022 and the patronage refund and dividends will be released before the year ends.
The progress of the association can be attributed to the members’ patronage of their own products and services.
They made the Cooperative as the copra buyer and rice supplier.
The cycle keeps the cooperative’s operation which benefitted both the SASJ ARCoop and its members and helped the organization grew dramatically.
The Cooperative used to trade around 16,000 kilos of copra per month, but with DOLE’s assistance, their trading capacity doubled to around 35,000 kilos. The sales on rice, on the other hand, increased after the organization purchased additional stocks.
Regional Director Atty. Sixto T. Rodriguez, Jr. lauded the achievement of the cooperative, “Once again, we have proven that we can achieve our goals through our cooperation and unity. You are now enjoying the fruit of your sacrifices and we hope that you will make the project sustainable and it will be instrumental in uplifting your economic condition.”
Living up to its vision, “Mapag-on nga Kooperatiba nga may tayuyon nga serbisyo kag pangabuhi-an (A strong cooperative with sustainable service and livelihood),” the Cooperative has become a “go-to” for its members in times of need.
Eden Oirada, a mother of nine, has been grateful to the Cooperative’s assistance for her family’s immediate needs. As a member, the cooperative is always there to buy her copra and has also provided some assistance in times of emergencies.
To support the flourishing enterprise of the Cooperative, the government developed the barangay roads and another government agency donated a delivery truck which improved its business operation particularly in the transport of their products.
During the distribution of the organization’s profit sharing, Ms. Carmela M. Abellar, Head of DOLE Antique Field Office, encouraged the Cooperative to take care of the “seeds” provided by the government and to stick to the spirit of cooperativism as a way of life.
“After all, big things start from small and so is the Cooperative with proper management, genuine cooperation and support from members,” Abellar said.