Kapiri DC challenges cooperatives
Kapiri Mposhi, July 10, 2014, ZANIS–Kapiri Mposhi District Commissioner Beatrice Sikazwe has challenged cooperative societies in the area to reposition themselves to operate as business enterprises.
The DC said cooperatives should not be taken as seasonal entities if the leaders were to meet the aspirations of their members.
Ms. Sikazwe noted that most cooperative societies in the district existed only for purposes of accessing farming inputs under the government subsidized Farmer Input Support Program (FISP) and later become inactive when off farming season.
She said that out of 1,234 primary cooperative societies registered in Kapiri Mposhi district only 441 were enterprising all-year-round while others were either none enterprising or defunct.
Ms. Sikazwe said this when she officiated at the commemoration of the 92nd International Cooperative Alliance and the 20th United International Day of Cooperatives under the theme “cooperative enterprises achieve sustainable development for all”.
The DC challenged cooperative societies to develop capacity to support and maintain their sustainability by integrating other business dimensions asides farming.
“Most cooperatives are operating as fertilizer clubs and not as business enterprises… cooperatives should operate all year round to ensure that they maximize on opportunities other than farming to generate income for their sustainability,” Ms. Sikazwe said.
Ms. Sikazwe said government had developed measures aimed at invigorating cooperative societies noting the significant role they play in rural development and the agriculture sector at large.
She said government had formulated and approved the National Cooperative Development policy, reviewed the Cooperative Society Act number 20 of 1998 and intends to revamp the Cooperative Bank.
And Ms. Sikazwe said government has increased the number of farmer beneficiaries of maize seed packs by 10 percent from 23,118 last season to 25,765 this farming season and by 367 percent of groundnuts packs from 300 last season to 1,400 packs in the 2014/2015 farming season.
“Cooperatives can be used as an engine to economic development that’s why government has since 2002 implemented the farmer input support program mainly through cooperatives,” Ms Sikazwe said.
Meanwhile, Kapiri Mposhi District Cooperative Union Chairman Clement Moyo has asked government to increase the number of farming input packs from four to eight per small scale farmer.
Mr. Moyo observed that small scale farmers were failing to graduate from FISP because of the few number of fertilizer and seed packs that they accessed under the arrangement.
He also appealed to government to work on feeder roads in the district to enable smooth transportation of agriculture produce and inputs.