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

AGNES LUO LAIMA ZANAMACA, Zambia
24.07.2012
AGNES

As stated it is important to consider logistical solutions that aim at boosting and facilitating rural cooperatives and producer organization.

However, the cooperatives have played an important role since its inception but they may need some modification and introduction of some new policies that will enable producers reach the maximum of productivity and profit realization.

Producers in many countries in Africa have cooperative that are in operation but little is being done to help the producer realize their maximum rate of productivity.
(1)    Not educating farmers on key areas that can boost their production where as cooperatives are just helping in one way that buying from farmer and provision of input to the producers. So if cooperatives can join forces with Agriculture engineers and professionals then most farmers will learn on how to have the production increase because they will be consultant to give technical advice to the farmers.
(2)    The legal framework must recognize farmers as important component. National industry and that they are part and parcel in the National development of the country. Government need to recognize farmer to be entitled in accessing loans. Also that capital investment by government most also go into establishing young farmer to increase capacity in their Agro business. Loan facilities should include machinery livestock, cash and other important input. Most cooperatives have only facilitated the agro farmer in transportation, and buying of the produce. But does not look which farm producer should receive loan of what kind. Cooperatives are best place at position where they have data of all producers and how much each is able to sell from this statistics. They will be in the position to link farmers to banks and connect farmers to loan facilities. Also to give advice to farmer on having savings account which, will enable them to access loans from bank. Cooperatives should harness farmers as a mother body that mediates farmers who are producer to have direct link in accessing incentives that will promote producers to have maximum productivity and receive good profits from their label. It is also important to understand that farmers need constant education of their business. New policies and incentives must be past on the farmers through brochures and through various forms of media communication as in case of farmer in the remote areas. Cooperatives should establish a center which has to educate farmer on certain methods of farming. Through education, sensitization and equipping farmers with knowledge that will empower farmer do the right thing at the right time. This program if introduced by cooperatives they will no challenge faced by farmers and how those challenges can be solved.
(3)    In cultures which have cultural norms that dominate Agriculture should also be address to remove ignorance and cultural impediment to food security e.g. people who aim at having animals as a basis of making name where as they may not sale even if animal have multiplied in number due to their cultural understanding.
(4)    Producer must also have access to have their produce exported through cooperatives which will make them sell their produce at much better price this marketing strategy can be organized by cooperative to facilitate their sales.

The cooperative should extend their marketing strategy by finding and accessing external market where as they would sale produce on behalf of the farmer and then the money would be deposited in the individual farmer accounts.

Then the shares would be according to the rate produced by each farmers. These external markets include exporting produce to neighbouring countries. It is therefore the duty of cooperative to source for foreign markets, where the commodity is needed. Cooperatives would just levy a small service charge to farmers for conducting business on their behalf.

Agnes Luo Laima
Zambia National Marketeers Credit Association (ZANAMACA)