cease during planting time so the workers can plant their fields. All the cooperatives also
said that surpluses, when available, are divided between the members in addition to
whatever money they earn working. This is especially true for cases where a cooperative
makes money in logging.
In addition to employment and cash income, members receive other benefits. All
the cooperatives in the study reported giving credit to their members when sufficient
funds were available in the cooperatives’ savings. This is an important advantage for
people who normally have no access to credit. In addition, the cooperatives reported
giving emergency assistance to members in cases of illness or death. Cooperativa
Guadalupe also has a Christmas savings fund, which members can contribute to from
their income. The members then withdraw the money before the holidays, buying gifts or
entertaining family. Many members, especially those who participate in cooperative
leadership, also have the opportunity to gain new skills and experience.
The activities of the cooperatives also benefit the communities in a collective
sense. All the cooperatives reported contributing to community projects and
organizations in some way. Villa Santa, for example, has contributed money and labor
towards projects in the community including roads, a community center, the water
system, and the primary and secondary school. The cooperative also operates a general
store where people can buy farm implements and other products at discount prices
without leaving the community. Protección contributes three Lempiras per barrel of resin
and fifty-five Lempiras per cubic meter of wood to the Patronato (Village Council). The
Patronato uses the money for community projects. The cooperatives also manage and
protect the forest and watersheds surrounding the communities.