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Vision Plus: A Leverage Effect Like No Other

Your network’s cooperatives are doing well. And the Vision Plus project is essentially responsible for that leverage effect.

We all know this: it goes that much faster on our own, but together we go much further. Once again, our cooperatives have proven this to be true. 

During the semi-annual meeting for Sollio Cooperative Group, which was held September 8 and 9 in Saint-Hyacinthe, we took note of their most recent financial results.  

These results speak for themselves. The strength of the group and the collective is undeniable. We can see the power of resilience and solidarity within cooperatives, particularly as they faced a pandemic that will seemingly never end and one we cannot wait to leave behind.

However, beyond the pandemic, it was the Vision 2020 project, launched back in 2016 then reactivated under the name Vision Plus, that launched a new era of restructuring. Let me remind you, Vision Plus is a vast restructuring project that supports the consolidation of our agricultural cooperatives and the business partnerships with the Sollio Agriculture division. This project fulfilled the need of our elected officials to modernise our business model so we could better meet the needs of our producers and ensure the continuity of our network as part of a market consolidation context.

There are clear and tangible results. Cooperative revenues and equity have been constantly growing for years. The financial soundness of our agricultural cooperatives is improving from one year to the next. And in terms of operational benefits, 2020 was a record year, and that was even before the Sollio Cooperative Group’s dividends. In fact, 2021 appears to be just as promising.

Consolidating our agricultural cooperatives is starting to show its benefits, thanks, among other things, to critical masses that are greater than those it produces. The leverage effects to minimise their resources and deal with the competition are therefore greater.

Furthermore, the retail sector of our agricultural cooperatives has seen - it must be said, within the context of a pandemic   substantial growth in their revenues and operational benefits. There was also a certain amount of manpower streamlining that refocused our priorities in terms of member services and efficiency gains.

Today, there is no doubt that consolidating our agricultural cooperatives, which is already well underway, enabled the creation of a very significant leverage effect to ensure their continuity. There is also no doubt that our grouped businesses are in a much better position to face today’s challenges, as well as tomorrow’s. Other consolidation projects are in effect and will take shape over the next few years. 

To ensure the vitality of our democratic instances and to remain attentive to our member producers within expanded territories, we developed, in collaboration with a few consolidated agricultural cooperatives, a specific approach to meet everyone’s needs. The ambassador program, the one I spoke to you about last month. These ambassadors are responsible for maintaining a sound relationship between members, cooperatives and the Sollio Cooperative Group. 

This said, the second phase of the Vision Plus project, which is to create regional agricultural partnerships, is also underway. Vivaco and Avantis are perfect and driving examples. Uniag and Agiska should be taking shape on November 1st. Vision Plus is a vibrant and evolving project, and in my opinion, this will lead to its success in the long term. Together, we will go further.  

In a completely different order of ideas, rest assured that to follow up on the statement made by the Ordre des agronomes “that agronomic actions always stand apart from product sales or service actions,” we have taken measures to analyse this change and will fight for producers’ right to maintain control over the decisions they make. 

Let me remind you that Co-op Week is from October 17 to 23, and this annual celebration, as organised by the Conseil Québécois de la coopération et de la mutualité, is a great opportunity to help the cooperative movement shine and to emphasize the advantages of cooperation.  

I wish you all a great Co-op Week and a fantastic fall!

Ghislain Gervais - président

ghislain.gervais@sollio.coop