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Re: Enabling rural cooperatives and producer organizations to thrive as sustainable business enterprises

John Rouse Italy

PART TWO If participants know of individual cases of cooperative success in achieving self-reliance and sustainability and the key factors that led to their success I am sure the rest of us would be interested in learning more about these cases. In addition to collecting more analytical data on individual cooperative success in achieving financial and technical self-sufficiency, Somaratne goes one step further and suggests that both governments and donors should link their assistance to recipient achievement of specific self-sufficiency targets or milestones which could be used to monitor progress in this direction. do you think this would be a good idea? Several participants ( Mulindra, Bazongo and Yakasai) mentioned member illiteracy, the geographic isolation of manynrural coops and coop masnagers lack of computer skills and business skills as major constraints to developing cooperative self-reliance. Could the new information technologies including the more widespread use of mobile telephones be useful in bridging this gap? Here are some other questions to ponder: Should cooperatives be granted special taxation exoneration privileges or subsidies to encourage their development, or would this discourage them from achieving full self-sufficiency? Are cooperatives organized to get donations? Bazongo mentions what he calls "project cooperatives" I.e. coops that are organized only for the durations of a project. Once the project ends so does the cooperative. whatbdomyounthink? Are cooperative principles to be strictly observed or can some flexibility contribute to more business efficiency? (Millns, Steele) We look forward to your response to the above points or any other points raised in the discussions to date John and Janos