Vision 2020: Staying the Course to Keep our Network Strong

by Ghislain Gervais - président

The transformation of our network, where are we now?

The first regional partnership, between the cooperative group Vivaco (the result of a merger of several regional cooperatives) and La Coop fédérée, will officially be in effect November 1 of this year. This will be a notable day.

We launched Vision 2020 a few years ago and this first official regional partnership is just the start of its realisation. The purpose of this project is to transform our network into a more efficient and prosper instrument.

And this is how we’re going to do it: we will ensure an engineered consolidation of our agricultural cooperatives and set up regional agricultural partnerships between consolidated cooperatives and La Coop fédérée to give ourselves greater operational flexibility.

We are working together to ensure the continuity of our network, to provide a modern, adaptable and efficient service offering that, in the end, will contribute to the prosperity of Quebec’s agricultural families.  

Vision 2020 is the evolution of our business model and it is a response to the consolidations of markets and the concerns of our members. This model has also proven its effectiveness in other Canadian provinces while capably supporting competitiveness, which is consolidating at breakneck speed.

Moreover, there are so many uncertainties: The trade war between the U.S.A. and China, NAFTA negotiations (!), the enactment of the bilateral agreement with Europe, mid-term elections south of the border…  

Our analysis confirms it. Allow me to paraphrase our director of service consultancy: Large-scale cooperatives continue to fare better, due in large part to their large volume of business and the diversification of their economic activities. Let me remind you that most of our network’s benefits are generated by a limited number of cooperatives. We had to do something. 

The consolidation of our cooperatives is going well. In 1990 the network had 106 while we now have 47. Our goal for 2020 is to have 6 or 7 large cooperative groups in partnership with La Coop fédérée, a dozen unconsolidated cooperatives and 26 specialised cooperatives. This new business structure will position us as the leader in our markets.

November 1 is the date on which our first partnership will take shape. We are proud, very proud. In fact, I want to thank everyone who contributed to the success of this great endeavour. I also want to congratulate Dominique Patry, who has been appointed General Manager of this new partnership between La Coop fédérée and Vivaco.

And finally, perhaps you already know, but we recently adopted a new name for our agricultural division: Sollio Agriculture. The name brings up the notions of earth (sol in French), sun (soleil) and solidarity, strong and highly suggestive words in the agricultural and cooperative worlds (Read the details in the article written by Guylaine Gagnon on page 6 of the magazine).

This new signature will be a clearer reflection of our position and our commitment to the industry and agricultural families. This new name will also ensure a strong visibility wherever we choose to develop our businesses, either in Quebec, the rest of Canada or anywhere else in the world.

We still have a lot to do, but we know that we are on the right path. Our network is entering a new era!

With these words, I wish you a very colourful and enjoyable fall.