The Secret Behind Farmer Vic's Success

- Estela Banzon-De La Paz () - July 17, 2006 - 12:00am
Cooperatives in the Philippines have not been known to succeed in business with lots of them incurring losses in their operations but one cooperative in Batangas is proving itself to be the exception to the rule.

Sorosoro Ibaba Development Cooperative (SIDC), a cooperative based in Batangas has come up with a novel idea to offer competitively-priced consumer goods to its members and even give them a refund after every year.

This is made possible through the setting up of Farmer Vic Meat Shops in strategic areas like Sta. Rosa, Laguna, Pasay and Muntinlupa. To date, SIDC operates seven Farmer Vic Meat Shops in Sta. Rosa and Muntinlupa. For this year, SIDC is planning to have six additional Farmer Vic Meat Shops.

SIDC chairman Dr. Ben Bagui said they are targeting to set up 100 Farmer Vic Meat Shops in Metro Manila within the next five years.

"Farmer Vic was conceptualized to fast-track the marketing component to help our members. It eliminates the middlemen and thus, lowers the prices of our goods," said Dr. Bagui.

SIDC general manager Rico Geron explained further that Farmer Vic Meat Shops help their members sell their produce. In Farmer Vic Meat Shops, fresh meat, processed meat, rice and other groceries are offered at prices lower than those in the public markets. The goods being sold are procured from SIDC members who are into these line of businesses. These are the livestock raisers, contract growers, etc.

Moreover, SIDC members who patronize farmer Vic Meat Shops get a one-percent rebate on all the purchases they have made for the year. To become an SIDC member, those interested will have to pay a membership fee of P100.

Geron said that to date, they have 9,000 members. Of these, about 5,000 are associate members. The associate members are those who put in P100 into the cooperative. The rest are institutional members who are mostly those involved in businesses and have put in a bigger capital into the cooperative. These members are usually patronizing three business activities of the cooperative like feed milling, hog raising and availment of credit.

Geron said that since the cooperative’s inception in 1969 by Victoriano Barte (thus, the name Farmer Vic), its businesses have evolved quite a lot but its initial idea of pooling together the requirements of each member for their businesses have basically remained intact. These are usually in the form of loans or feeds, technical support, etc.

So far, SIDC has grown dramatically from an initial capitalization of P11,800, it now has P735 million in total assets. Its net income in 2005 reached P98.6 million from P56 million in 2004. Much of the increase in income, according to Geron, is due to the growth in the number of its members.

SIDC, to date, also operates the Batangas City slaughterhouse and a rice mill capable of milling 100 sacks of rice a day. One of its biggest business is its feed mill. This feed mill is integral in its operations because it ensures members of high quality feeds. Located in Sorosoro, Karsaa, Batangas City, the feed mill can efficiently produce 4,000 bags of feeds daily. It has recently expanded its warehouse to put in a pelletizing machine for its feeds.

Geron says he is satisfied with how the cooperative has helped the people living in his hometown in Sorosoro, Ibaba. Hopefully, the same success can be extended to others through their different business endeavors particularly Farmer Vic Meat shops. SIDC is living proof that if a cooperative is run well, it could give consumers better choices.
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