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Emerging coop empowers coconut planters in Quezon

Emerging coop empowers coconut planters in Quezon

In Roman Catholicism, St. Rita of Cascia is the “Patroness of Impossible Causes.”  In times of hopelessness, people cling to her for intercession. 

Maybe this is the reason why Reynaldo Nera asked the Sta. Rita De Cascia Parish in Padre Burgos, Quezon, for help supporting his fellow coconut farmers looking for ways to improve their lives.  

Nera, president of Yahweh Coconut Farmers Association, asked the parish priest, Fr. Jayson Oriasel, to help turn their organization into a cooperative. 

“I sought the support of Church, drawn by the advantages of a cooperative such as “balik tangkilik” (patronage fund) and employment generation” Nera said. 

And thus, Sta. Rita Agriculture Cooperative (SRAC) came into existence. 

With support from the Peace and Equity Foundation and the Quezon Federation and Union of Cooperatives (QFUC), the cooperative was registered with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) in January 2023. 

The cooperative consolidates the coconuts from the farmers in the town. Through the cooperative’s copra and nuts trading business, the members were able to get additional income from premiums coming from SRAC.

In less than a year, the cooperative has exceeded 100 members, and its assets continue to grow. 

“The cooperative was created to empower our farmer-members. Fr. Oriasel said they could hope for a better future for their family and community”. 

As continuing support of  the Peace and Equity Foundation, QFUC conducted a two-day business development planning session with SRAC on April 12 to 13, 2024. 

Neyra, who manages the cooperative’s coconut storage and warehouse, was tasked with addressing the officers and guests at the event.

“I would like to thank the people who supported us for helping us make our dreams a reality,” he said, teary-eyed but happy with what the cooperative has accomplished. 

In the coming months, the cooperative will expand membership to nearby towns, increase coconut consolidation by building a bigger warehouse, and equip its officers with knowledge on strengthening their organization.