Niger: L'Union Nationale des Cooperatives (UNC), INFO-COOP, July, 1996

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    This document has been made available in electronic format
         by the International Co-operative Alliance ICA 
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                         July, 1996

     (Source: INFO-COOP, Issue No.9, July, 1996, p.20-21)

                            NIGER
          L'Union Nationale des Cooperatives (U.N.C.)
          *******************************************

I.   General Situation
----------------------

The National Co-operatives Union (UNC) was established on 12
April 1984 following the dissolution of the UNCC.

The union is governed by decree No. 89-10 dated 7 April 1989
and is under the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry.

1.   UNC is a rural co-operative and mutual body representing
over 13,800 rural bodies, 11,850 groupings, 1,420
co-operatives, and 310 local, sub-regional and regional
unions.

2.   Pursuant to the bye-laws adopted by its General Assembly
of 10 September 1993, UNC 's purpose is to contribute to the
economic, social and cultural development of producers in the
rural sector of the economy.  The Union's major objectives are
as follows:

a)   Enhance the production and organizational capacity of
     rural people by developing their human potential and
     improving their means of production;

b)   Defend the common interests of its members by providing
     them with efficient representation services and fostering
     cooperation among members and with outsiders;

c)   Provide services such as supply of production facilities,
     marketing of products and other support which would suit
     the needs of its members;

3.   UNC is governed by the following bodies:

-    A General Assembly made up of 64 people:  8 co-operators
     per region. This is the decision-making and orientation
     body;

-    A Management Committee made up of 16 members (two per
     region) elected within the General Assembly. This is the
     executing body; and 

-    Three (3) auditors appointed by the General Assembly.

A technical management committee made up of officers recruited
and appointed by the Management Committee is responsible for
managing UNC's business. This management is divided into
departments made up of four (4) divisions and five (5)
specialized units including the Supply Centre and workshops
for manufacturing agricultural equipment. UNC's resources come
from proceeds from its activities, contributions from its
members, government subsidies and donations and bequests.

UNC carries out its duties in collaboration with it's members,
who are represented down to the village level. UNC has 302
people, including 160 technical officers. The body has 76
vehicles (but only thirty 30 are in running order), 39
offices, 44 housing units and 359 small-capacity storage
houses.

II.  Activities
---------------
>From 1984 to 1994, UNC carried out several activities.  The
most significant of these were training, supply and marketing
and promotion of economic activities.

-    18,800 co-operators, 28 middle-grade officers and 20
     senior officers underwent training. Under the 1995
     programme, 166 co-operators and 57 senior operative staff
     were trained.

-    With regard to supplies, an average of 5,000 tons of
     products have been sold yearly to producers since 1987.

-    From 1984 to 1994 the co-operatives marketed 350,000 tons
     of agricultural produce. For the 94-95 crop year, UNC
     provided 832 million francs in financing for the
     marketing of 10,700 tons of produce of all types.

-    Finally, with proceeds from promotional activities
     carried out through the co-operative projects, we were
     able to put up 242 co-operative shops, 558 grain silos,
     256 mills and 77 pharmaceutical depots.

III. Constraints
----------------
UNC has faced constraints of all types which have hampered its
efficiency. These are:

*    Lack of financial and physical resources;

*    Most of the existing vehicles date back to the erstwhile
     UNCC times;  

*    UNC also lacks the working capital needed to purchase
     supplies and carry out marketing activities;

*    Inadequate supervision and institutional support;

*    Poor legal framework;

*    Technical shortcomings of co-operators, 90% of whom are
     illiterate.

An ill-prepared divestiture of the government which caused
serious disruptions in the running of UNC's major activities,
such as, the supply system for agricultural inputs and
marketing of agricultural produce.

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Name:                    Union Nationale des Cooperatives   
Acronym:                 U.N.C.    
Address:                 BP 296 NIAMEY-NIGER 
Telephone:               73-44-48 / 73-53-01 / 73-53-02     
Date of Establishment:   12 April 1984  
Operational Zone:        Nationwide     
Affiliated Unions:       310  
Primary Co-operatives:   1420 
Chairman of MC:          HAROUNA Djibo  
Managing Director:       SALEY Mamadou