This week, ACDI/VOCA launched the USAID-funded Cooperative Development Program in the Philippines. During the launch event, more than 125 people, including government officials, private sector actors, program staff, and representatives from 32 local Philippine cooperatives and federations joined together to advance cooperative development knowledge.  

This global initiative aims to strengthen cooperative businesses through USAID funding and partnerships. In the Philippines and around the world, cooperatives are often a sustainable, long-term path to development. Cooperatives are jointly owned, democratically controlled businesses that support the needs of their members. When supported, these members continue to operate thriving cooperatives long after donor support ends.  

Engaging a Federation of Philippine Cooperatives 

The launch in the Philippines also celebrated the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Philippine Family Farmers Agriculture-Fishery-Forestry Cooperatives Federation or AgriCooPh, a prominent federation of cooperatives in the Philippines.  

This MOU is critically important to the program because, over the course of five years, AgriCooPh will become an expert service provider supporting agriculture cooperatives across the country. The organization will help build an inclusive business model that can be replicated to sustainably increase farmers’ incomes globally.  

CDP staff visited the Katipunan Small Coconut Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative (KSCFMPC) last week as part of the project’s introductory activities.

KSCFMPC was a previous partner under the MinPACT Project. After MinPACT, the co-op doubled its assets and its membership increased from 200 to 700.

Applying Market Systems Development Tools 

To support AgriCooPh, ACDI/VOCA will share development tools, such as M4 and Sell More For More, which will help cooperatives assess their performances and meet buyers’ expectations to sell more product for more income. These, along with other capacity-building tools, will help the federation offer long-term assistance to other cooperatives in the country. 

ACDI/VOCA’s Cooperative Legacy   

ACDI/VOCA has been working in cooperative development for nearly 60 years. We have supported cooperatives and farmer groups in more than 100 countries and continue to build agri-business cooperatives as part of our market systems approach to development. We have seen how cooperatives — as mechanisms for creating resilience, enhancing market opportunities, and building leadership skills — offer both social and economic benefits.  

A Three-Pronged Approach 

The initiative in the Philippines is one component of a three-part cooperative development program. Other components involve strengthening the cashew value chain in Guinea and increasing knowledge and awareness of the cooperative business model on a global level. For the latter, ACDI/VOCA will share blogs and articles on how cooperatives have influenced global development over the decades as well as their role in building inclusive and climate smart agribusinesses in the future.  

Stay tuned for first-hand accounts from our staff who have led cooperative businesses to greater profitability. We will also share the tools and networks that support cooperatives in different settings and hear from some of the extraordinary volunteers who ACDI/VOCA has deployed to support cooperatives around the world.  

We look forward to taking this learning journey together. Please share your reflections on cooperatives in the comments below.