Still on Big Brother-Small Brother Partnership

As discussed previously, large co-ops are in a more strategic position to be in the forefront of advancing the growth, at a faster pace, of micro and small co-ops from their weak and vulnerable state into more stabilized and stronger co-operatives. This activity can be appropriately termed as the big brother helping small brother.

Larger co-ops do not only have the knowledge and resources but also the experiences to back it up. They grew and became successful due to a variety of factors and this can be a possible starting point for collaboration and possible joint venture with the small and micro co-ops. These large co-operatives can impart their best practices. Not only that, they can provide other business opportunities for the smaller co-operatives including the needed capital. This is commonly known in the co-operative sector as the 6th Co-operative Principle, Cooperation among Co-operatives.

The question is, are they willing to help? Are they even willing to enter into a partnership with CDA? Armed with solid credentials, large co-operatives are the appropriate sector to introduce faster growth in the co-operative sector. Micro and small co-operatives have higher probability of succeeding in their endeavors if they partner with their larger counterparts. In fact, some large co-operatives are already doing it on their own initiative. One co-operative in particular, the Nueva Segovia Consortium of Co-operatives (NSCC) based in the Ilocos Region.

NSCC is a 1.6 billion worth secondary co-operative with 143 primary co-operatives as its members. It is engaged in the capability training and marketing of the products of its members as well as the products of the individual members. So far, they are supplying Jollibee Food Corporation with onions from their co-operatives and also supply other agricultural products to other institutional buyers and trading partners.

The Cooperative Code of the Philippines, in its declaration of policy, states that the State shall foster the creation and growth of cooperatives as a practical vehicle for promoting self-reliance and harnessing people power towards the attainment of economic development and social justice. The State shall also encourage the private sector to undertake the actual formation and organization of cooperatives and shall create an atmosphere that is conducive to the growth and development of these cooperatives.

Furthermore, the same Code provides that the State recognizes the principle of subsidiarity under which the cooperative sector will initiate and regulate within its own ranks the promotion and organization, training and research, audit and support services relative to cooperatives with government assistance where necessary.

These provisions of law clearly support this concept. The government should allow the private sector to be more active and assertive in helping the growth of co-operatives in the country. The co-operative is a self-help organization in the first place. The government should respect the principle of subsidiarity where the co-operatives regulate their own ranks. The only role of the government is to create a conducive environment for co-ops to thrive and survive such as relaxing some of the stringent regulations in order for the cooperatives to meet these requirements.

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