It is always been said that cooperatives can change lives. It is claimed and believed by those in the Movement. But how is it really for the members? How far did they reach, with the cooperative backing them up along the way? How the Movement, standing its ground of principles, practices, and beliefs enabled them to reach their life’s goals?
The Cooperative Development Authority Calamba Extension Office (CDA CEO) was given the opportunity to chat with a few coconut workers in Padre Burgos, Quezon who are members of the Yakap at Halik Multi-Purpose Cooperative Quezon 2 (YHMPCQ2). The said cooperative is among the large cooperatives in Quezon Province with various projects and business activities. Among their sources of income is the marketing of matured coconuts, some are processed as virgin coconut oil and some are for copra production.
Mr. Ronald Lagar, 41 years old, married, with two daughters (twins) is among members of the YHMPCQ2. He’s been harvesting coconut for the past 15 years. He will harvest the matured coconuts and bring all his harvests by the side of the road for pick up of the cooperative. There are times when the harvested coconuts are not enough to sustain his family’s needs, thus, he also started baking pastries, an opportunity given to him by the KKK Multipurpose Cooperative, another group registered in Padre, Burgos.
Mr. Cesar Alegre, married, 32 years old with two kids is also a member of YHMPCQ2. He sells his harvested coconuts and produced palay to the cooperative. Through the years, besides being the buyer of his produced, the YHMPCQ2 also helped him with its loan offerings of seedlings and other farm inputs. He is also a tricycle driver which is his backup source of living, but admittedly, at an estimate, 80% of his earnings come from farming. Currently, he and his family already have their own house which he built from years of farm labor and marketing engagement with the YHMPCQ2.
Mr. Pedro Peralta, also married, with six children, is also a member of the YHMPCQ2. He shared that he has been a coconut farmer since he was little, roughly for about 40 years. To date, he is also buying and selling matured nuts, and producing and processing copra. He happily shared that he did not have difficulty selling his harvested goods because of the cooperative. He also added that he is one of the early members of the YHMPCQ2 and he watched it grow to become a large cooperative that helped a lot of people in their locality.
Besides coconut production, Mr. Peralta is also a palay farmer. Additionally, his goods are marketed to YHMPCQ2. In order to grow his business, the cooperative gave him the resources he needed to acquire some of the members’ palay, which he kept in his own storage facility.
The Yakap at Halik MPCQ2 started as a small community cooperative in Padre, Burgos, Quezon, now, having been around since 2008, the cooperative grew into a large cooperative, changing lives and helping its members to have a sustainable source of income.
Truly, with courage and the right mix of attitude, work, skills, and prayers, possibilities are reachable and imaginations can be realities. And such stories are another receipt of the Cooperative Movement’s hard work through the years.