that cooperatives’ activities in any country are very paramount to nation building, as it empowers citizens, but noted that in Liberia, it is often neglected by national government.
The CDA recalls that prior to the inception of the cooperatives concept in Liberia in 1936, the idea to found the first organization of cooperatives character literally came over time of the industrial revolution in the mid-19th century – a miserable period when famers suffered extensively from failed harvest, and small craft businesses found themselves in financially desperate straits.
The agency gave the reflection over the weekend at program marking the observance of the 2016 International Day of Cooperatives held on the campus of the Williams V.S. Tubman High School on 12th Street, Sinkor in Monrovia.
The program brought together officials of government, including member of the 53rd Liberian Legislature and students, among others on the theme “Cooperatives the power to Act for sustainable future.”
Giving an overview of the celebration, CDA Register General A. Richelieu Mitchell said the situation of famers, especially small farmers, and large pro-poor population segments got noticeably worse, moreover burden by having to pay off their ex-lords, and worse of all, being very inexperience in the independent development, and management of a business.
“No matter how small farm and community base population had no access to bank services, and were heavily reliant on private money lender, these clues on the genesis of cooperative development allow the direction of your minds towards reason why today the CDA is said to comprise of two major apexes which include the Liberia National Federation of Cooperative Societies, and the Liberia Credit Union National Association”, Mr. Mitchell said.
He said as the 1870 rolled around, cooperatives, on the basis of strong membership, organized themselves into federation in order to build cohesion, establish the foundation of good governance and to offer local cooperatives professional advice and assistance.
The CDA Register General narrated that in 1889, the cooperative law came into effect, and set out all regulations for legal forms of cooperative formation, organization, and administration.
According to him, to the extent that cooperative bodies on the international scene were encouraged, protected, given rights, and provided minimum requirements of statues, adding that the Liberian Legislature in 1936 enacted the cooperative societies Act, the basis on which in 1970, the Ministry of Agriculture created a cooperative and marketing division.
He pointed out that this action of government encouraged the realization of a cooperative registry of 408 legally formed cooperatives by 1980, the majority of which were in the agriculture sector, and they contributed to annual average income generation stream of $US23 million.
“In context to such an economic impetus that immensely impacted the social, cultural, and economic stands with accelerated improvements in the livelihoods of the pro-poor population segments of Liberia, this observance of international Day of Cooperatives comes with marked appreciation of government recognition of the capabilities of small farm, and community base group of people who have been given the freedom, and liberty to exercise the decentralization of development and democracy”, the CDA Registrar General concluded.Editing by Jonathan Browne