The Cooperative Development Agency or CDA has frowned on national government for not promoting cooperative programs across the country. The CDA says government’s failure to promote cooperative activities, especially in rural areas is putting development at stake.
“Amidst challenges and demands, the promotion of cooperative development continues to embody strong conviction that cooperatives under the CDA stand as a conduit for transforming poor farms and community base groups to actively participate in and contribute to the national economy”, said CDA Acting Deputy Registered, Harris B. Winnie.
Addressing reporters recently in Monrovia, Mr. Winnie said as a result of those challenges and demands, the CDA since 2012 embarked on a total of 377 field missions to 12 of the 15 counties to facilitate farms and community based groups into a viable cooperative in fulfillment of the agency’s mandate.
According to him, 132 training programs were executed, focusing on cocoa, coffee, rubber and oil palm production, including credit unions formation. He said the objectives have been geared toward the delivery of cooperative advisory services, and where necessary, integrate agriculture extension services for capacity building enhancement with emphasis on rehabilitating smallholder tree crop farmers and transforming indigenous financial and non-bank saving programs known as village loans.
The CDA executive added that 44 community base groups, 20 credit unions, and 24 cocoa farmers’ cooperative societies were also transformed into legitimate cooperative entities with an overall membership of 8,165 farmers, including 2,667 females in six counties namely; Gbarpolu, Bong, Lofa, Nimba, Grand Gedeh, and River Gee Counties, respectively.
“This transformation has encouraged increased income generation power of members of the 44 cooperative societies through quality cocoa production, savings, and credit intervention in the six project counties”, he said.
He added that in River Gee County, LDR 7, 744, 040.00 was realized during the last cocoa marketing season through bulking of cocoa by six cooperative societies with a combined membership of 500 farmers.
Mr. Winnie further pointed out that as part of its mandate, the CDC is to audit or cause to audit once every year all registered cooperative societies in the country to ensure proper financial management system through compliance with financial accountability and transparency in cooperative management.
He disclosed that between 2014 and 2016, the CDA audited 29 duly registered cooperative societies in six counties, including Montserrado, Margibi, Grand Bassa, Grand Gedeh, Nimba, and Lofa, respectively.
By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne