"OUR MISSION IS TO PERMANENTLY PROMOTE THE EXCELLENCE OF COOPERATIVISM IN THE STATE OF SÃO PAULO, PROVIDING THE STARTING POINT FOR ACTIONS IN THE SPHERES OF EDUCATION, INTEGRATION, REPRESENTATION, GUIDANCE AND COMMUNICATION"
OCESP was created on October 14, 1970 through the merger of União das Cooperativas do Estado de São Paulo - UCESP (São Paulo State Union of Cooperatives) and of Associação das Cooperativas Agropecuárias do Estado de São Paulo - ACAPESP (Association of Agribusiness Cooperatives of São Paulo State), only 3 and a half months after the election of the first active board of executive officers of OCB, which took place on June 30th, 1970. Until mid-1972, OCB was headquartered in São Paulo.
- Dr. Antônio José Rodrigues Filho
october/1970 to abril /1974
- Prof. João Rodrigues de Alckmin
april/1974 to april/1977
- Dr. Geraldo Diniz Junqueira
april/1977 to march/1979
- Dr. Luiz Dias Thenório Filho
march/1979 to april/1981
- Dr. Américo Utumi
april/1981 to april/1984;
april/1987 to april/1990;
april/1990 to april/1993
- Mr. Rubens de Freitas
april/1984 to april/1987
- Mr. José Oswaldo Galvão Junqueira
april/1993 to april/1996
- Márcio Lopes de Freitas
april/1996 to april/2001
Founding of Ocesp
Pres.-Elect Dr. Antonio José Rodrigues Filho (signing the minutes)
on the right of the president. Minister of Agriculture Allison Paulineli - Above right to left Dr. Leon (Unimed), Dr. Luis Dias Thenório Filho and Josefina Saula S. Rocha - on the left of pres. Dr.Geraldo Diniz Junqueira
OCESP and its Background
At the time when the discussion about the organization of entities representing cooperativism was starting at a national level (1960’s), the scenario of cooperatives existing in São Paulo was as follows: data from the Department of Assistance to Cooperativism, of the Secretariat of Agriculture - D.A.C.
Central Cooperatives, Federations and Confederations
Educational and Cultural Cooperatives
Production (Vegetable and Animal)
Production of Rural Electrification and Telephony
However, since cooperativism first arose in the country, cooperatives had no representative entities capable of uniting them and of providing them with the cohesive force necessary to defend their common interests and to hold discussions with the government. The first initiatives only arose in the 1950’s, as the organization, at a state level, of União das Cooperativas do Estado de São Paulo - UCESP, and, at a national level, of União Nacional das Associações de Cooperativas - UNASCO (National Union of Associations of Cooperatives), was only consummated at this time.
Later on Associação das Cooperativas Agropecuárias do Estado de São Paulo, ACAPESP (Association of Agribusiness Cooperatives of São Paulo State) was organized at a state level and ABCOOP - Associação Brasileira de Cooperativas (Brazilian Association of Cooperatives) at a national level, due to the appearance of differences of opinion among the groups that were represented at these entities. As this dissidence was of no interest to the cooperativist movement as a whole, there are records of the first contacts to reunify the movement at the end of the 1960’s.
Organized by what was then the Department of Assistance to Cooperativism, of the Secretariat of Agriculture, and under the command of Octacílio Tomanik, its director (who prepared the studies), the São Paulo State Union of Cooperatives - UCESP was created on June 30, 1952, at the Municipal Library, with the purpose of uniting cooperatives from São Paulo and of defending their interests. Several categories of cooperative were represented in the interim board of executive officers, which was then presided over by Fausto Vilas Boas. Its first active board was to appear slightly later, on September 14, with the investiture of Cyro Werneck de Souza e Silva, who remained in the position for 10 years. Two years after it was temporarily established, also at Rua Senador Feijó, 30 - 5º andar, UCESP already had 153 affiliated cooperatives.
Differences of Opinion
After UCESP had been operating for a few years, some misunderstandings began to appear, which resulted in a division of the movement. September 1st, 1965 was the date of the investiture of the first board a new entity, Associação das Cooperativas Agropecuárias do Estado de São Paulo - ACAPESP, presided over by Urbano de Andrade Junqueira. It can be said that the basic causes of this split resulted from differences of opinion of a political, theoretical and operational nature, which were the motive of public and polemical debates at the time. The officers of ACAPESP alleged that UCESP had got involved in politics, transferring a Cooperativism Congress that was supposed to be held in São Paulo to the city of Recife. They also complained that UCESP was seeking to stimulate the establishment of Consumer Cooperatives as a strategy for weakening the representation power of Agricultural Cooperatives. These were obviously not the only reasons. There were others, which were probably more serious, and it is impossible to indicate the preponderant cause here. Anyhow, regardless of the reasons, this division weakened the cooperativist movement of São Paulo.
This bipolar situation continued until 1969. At this time, Luiz Fernando Cirne Lima, then Minister of Agriculture of the Medici Government, showed an interest in dealing with the problem, and was seriously concerned about the union of the two Brazilian cooperativist ramifications (broken down into UNASCO and ABCOOP). Divided, the movement lost its strength, and the cooperatives, an important basis for any agricultural and cattle breeding policy, had no representatives to hold discussions with the government.
Considering the importance of the event, Cirne Lima asked Antônio José Rodrigues Filho, who was then Secretary of Agriculture, and later became Vice-Governor of São Paulo State, to undertake to gather the opponents together at a single entity, representative of Brazilian cooperativism. Respected by everyone and accepted by the two groups, Antônio José Rodrigues Filho commenced an extensive dialogue, at all levels and country-wide, to obtain the heretofore non-existent consensus. It was the beginning of reconciliation, which would later emerge at OCB and the OCEs.
OCB is conceived - At this point, most Brazilian cooperatives had already reached the conclusion that, effectively, it would be necessary to set up an entity assembling all the trends, working towards the accumulation of isolated efforts All the areas united in the mutual suggestion of establishing the Organization of Brazilian Cooperatives - OCB. Cirne Lima officially invited Antônio José Rodrigues Filho to coordinate the understandings, and at the IV Brazilian Congress of Cooperativism (from December 2nd to 6th, 1969, in Belo Horizonte - MG), also presided over by the Minister of Agriculture, the union of the two lines materialized. Once the temporary list of candidates had been formed and elected unanimously, they were invested at the same Congress by Cirne Lima. According to a decision made on the occasion, the term of office of this board would be for six months, to allow for the preparation of the entity’s by-laws and the studies for a new set of laws in response to cooperativist requests, to be forwarded by the Government to the Legislative.
OCESP and the OCEs - It was in this six-month period that Antônio José Rodrigues Filho, in the capacity of interim president of OCB, organized an approximation between UCESP and ACAPESP. These understandings gave rise to the decision to establish Organização das Cooperativas do Estado de São Paulo - OCESP. The current framework of OCB and of the OCEs was proposed during the study of the bill of new cooperativist legislation (which later on became Law 5,764). The workgroup that drew up such studies was comprised of Antônio José Rodrigues Filho (Secretary of Agriculture of São Paulo State at the time), Mário Decourt Homem de Melo, Paulo de Aguiar Godoy, Irineu Koyama and Walmor Franke. Rodrigues Filho understood that one of the basic objectives for attainment of union at a national level would be the approximation of the two divergent factions in São Paulo. As essential elements for attainment of this goal, he emphasized the interest and goodwill of the two leaders, who were running UCESP and ACAPESP on the occasion, respectively, João Rodrigues Alckmin and Gervásio Tadashi Inoue. Due to the understanding between both sides, a meeting of these two entities was organized with the participation of both in the board of executive officers of OCESP, founded on October 14 1970, and of which the first President was Antônio José Rodrigues Filho. (*)
At the same time, upon the conclusion of the first months of his term of office in the interim board of executive officers of OCB, and with the approval of its new by-laws, drawn up by the workgroup then formed, the General Meeting was called for the election of the first active board of executive officers on June 30, 1970, with the presence of Minister Cirne Lima. Once OCB had been officially implemented, also under the rule of Antônio José Rodrigues Filho, studies about cooperativist legislation (later on Law 5,764, of December 16, 1971) continued from the time when, without disagreements, the State Organizations of Cooperatives were formed.
A lot has changed since then. Nowadays OCESP, in the midst of computerizing its services, has its own headquarters (at Rua Correia Dias, 185) with a comfortable and modern mini-auditorium, meeting rooms and a complete infrastructure with phones, a fax, equipment for audiovisuals, etc.
The cooperativism of São Paulo includes cooperatives from all branches: AGRIBUSINESS, CONSUMER, RURAL ENERGIZATION AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS, HOUSING, CREDIT (Loans and Rural), WORK, HEALTH AND EDUCATION. The latter four branches are under expansion.
On the other hand, cooperatives of rural origin (coffee, milk, soybean, fruit and vegetables, etc.) remain stable and with a growing list of members, which demonstrates interest in joining such cooperatives, on account of the services they render to groups of members.
Another aspect observed is the decline of consumer cooperatives (they numbered 228 in the 60’s, but in Dec/98 amount to 44), due to conjunctural situations (crisis, inflation, recession, shortage of working capital, better organization and greater competitiveness of the private chain of supermarkets, etc.).
However, it is worth emphasizing that consumer cooperativism is most prevalent in São Paulo, not only in terms of the quantity of cooperatives but also of cooperative members. In this context, the cooperatives from the so-called "ABC Paulista" region (Santo André, São Bernardo do Campo and São Caetano do Sul) predominate all around the country, serving as an example and as inspiration. Just one of these, Cooperativa de Consumo dos Empregados do Grupo Rhodia (Consumer Cooperative of Rhodia Group Employees), has around 650 thousand active members.
Two other special highlights:
São Paulo took on the pioneer task of setting up and organizing Medical Cooperatives (the UNIMED system, with units, Federations and Confederation, totally integrated all over the country).
The pioneer initiative of establishing, installing and starting up a Trading Company (EXIMCOOP), the purpose of which is to export products of the affiliated cooperatives from São Paulo, Paraná and Rio Grande do Sul, which exhibit results with a positive and promising balance. The goal is to operate with Mercosur (Southern Cone countries: Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile) and with E.C.M (European Common Market) through the exchange of goods with European cooperatives.