Thursday, November 28, 2013

LHDP Support farmers’ to form Co-operative organisations countrywide

 Farmers' hands up for Co-operative organisations
Livestock and Horticulture Development Project (LHDP) a co-financing project-International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD.ORG), African Development Bank (AfDB.ORG) and the government of The Gambia staff are on a countrywide sensitization and awareness creation for establishment of the project beneficiaries into producer co-operatives from 27th November to 1st December, 2013.
LDHP is targeting horticulture and rural poultry beneficiaries that are supported by the project and the purpose of these cooperatives is to improve small holder farmers’ access to markets and to create a fair price for goods.

Speaking at Various regions-WCR, LRR, NBR, CRR North and South and URR respectively, Mr. Abdoulie Touray Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) officer LHDP said that a Co-operative is a member-owned and controlled business that operates for the mutual benefit of its members adding that Co-operatives promote the fullest possible participation in the economic and social development of all people been it rural or urban.

According to Touray, LHDP project aims to help small-scale rural producers (mainly women) to increase their incomes by improving the yield and quality of their horticultural and livestock products.

He explained that Co-operatives are autonomous associations or groups formed and democratically directed by people who come together to meet common economic, social, and cultural needs.

Mr. Baba Gibba Principal Agricultural officer Agribusiness spoke at length on the importance of Co-operatives noting that Co-operatives are founded on the principle of participatory governance.

According to him, LHDP in collaboration with Agribusiness is helping to form farmers’ into Co-operatives saying that LHPD is the first project to help farmers to establish Co-operatives in their regions.

 Mr. Gibba noted that Co-operative organisations are guided by principles; Voluntary and open membership, Education, Training and Concern for communities.

He explained to rural farmers that a General Assembly is the highest policy-making body of the co-operative and is the final authority in the management and administration of the affairs of the co-operative. It is composed of members who are entitled to vote, duly assembled and constituting quorum.

By forming a co-operative, “you will be able to obtain products or services you need and you will be able to define the characteristics of the products or services with the other members and no other person will take your products at low cost especially you the gardeners and poultry producers in the rural areas.”
Small holder farmers can find it difficult to market their produce and earn money. As a result, they're forced to sell off their produce at a give-away price, leaving them in perpetual poverty.

“Agribusiness with support from LHDP, we’ll help your groups to register; help your groups to develop a standard constitution, the registration fees is D500.00 and you don’t need to pay tax yearly.”

He adds: National Association of Cooperative Credit Unions of The Gambia (NACCUG), Gambia Teachers' Union Credit Union (GTUCCU), GTTI Cooperative & Credit Union, etc are all formed to serve the interest of its members and you (the farmers) can also do the same or even better than them if you come together.

For Mr. Sheriff T. Sanyang Assistant M&E officer LHDP urged the farmers to co-operate and form themselves into co-operative societies which will in turn help in marketing their products in order to improve their living conditions.

He added that with a co-operative bank the farmers would be able to market their produce and also have access to bank loans which they could use to start their own business.

Madam Darboeding Darboe from LHDP Sankandi Poultry Farm Association commended LHDP project for its efforts in ensuring that Gambian farmers are form into co-operatives.

She assured LHDP trekking team that their association will be the first to register as a farmers’ co-operative saying that been an co-operative it will not only increase the income of farmers but also will also create employment and increase the socio-economic development of the country at large.

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