Liberia calls on government to step up co-op development

The Cooperative Development Agency (CDA), which has been working to promote co-operative programmes in Liberia’s rural areas, said the government should be doing more.

As a result of challenges and demands facing its member co-ops, the CDA embarked on a total of 377 field missions to 12 of the 15 counties affected.

Since 2012, farms and community-based groups have been facilitated into viable co-operatives and 132 training programmes were executed, including the formation of credit unions.

The objectives have been geared toward the delivery of co-operative advisory services and the integration of agriculture extension services for capacity building enhancement.

“Amidst challenges and demands, the promotion of co-operative development continues to embody strong conviction that co-operatives 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 Harris Winnie, CDA executive.

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He added that 44 community base groups – 20 credit unions and 24 cocoa farmers’ co-op societies – were transformed into legitimate co-op entities with an overall membership of 8,165 farmers, including 2,667 women across six counties.

Mr Winnie said: “This transformation has encouraged increased income generation power of members of the 44 co-operative societies through quality cocoa production, savings, and credit intervention in the six project counties.”

As part of its mandate, the CDA is to audit or cause to audit all registered co-op societies in the country annually to ensure proper financial management system through compliance with financial accountability and transparency in co-operative management.

Between 2014 and 2016, the CDA audited 29 duly registered co-op societies in six counties. The organisation says the government’s failure to promote cooperative activities, especially in rural areas, is putting development at stake.