Part 2 of Recommendations (1991) 8. Human Resource Development (HRD) ------------------------------------ In the early years of development effort, development was regarded as synonymous with economic growth and there was an excessive concern with GNP. Experience has shown that social factors and investment in people are equally important. It is now generally recognized that peoples' participation is of crucial importance for achieving significant development in any sector and hence development of human resources is vital to the development process. The philosophy of `Co-operation's is rooted in the people. Co- operatives mean basically development of the people through their own efforts. Besides, unlike other development bodies, by constitution, a co-operative is a democratic institution. Hence, since the pioneering days co-operative education has been one of the basic Principles of Co-operation. The Mission was informed in its discussions every where that the `concept of co-operation' was new in Namibia and people in the country, including development personnel in the development Ministries and community development bodies have inadequate appreciation of its potential and knowledge about its operational principles and methods. Keeping the above in view, the Mission recommends that the highest priority be given to Human Resource Development in all co-operative development programmes in order to establish co- operatives in Namibia on a sound basis and to ensure that they are run as efficient economic and social entities. Special programmes be introduced in order to increase the involvement of women in co-operative matters. The ICA Policy on Human Resource Development in Co-operatives of the Third World has influenced the Mission to the following recommendations: Members: The raison d'etre for the co-operative movement are the members. Its strength lies in the quality of its membership and its ability to mobilize men and women. Democratic control is an essential pre-requisite for the development of economically efficient co-operative organisations. This can only be achieved through enlightened and capable members. Therefore, it is essential that: - members have an awareness and understanding of their role in the society as well as of the co-operative principles, practices and values; - women and young people are included in co-operative activities at all levels and sufficient resources are made available for appropriate programmes. Committee Members: Enlightened and capable leadership is vital for the success of co-operative organisations. It is therefore essential that: - committee members have an awareness and understanding of the co-operative principles, practices and values, - they are trained for their leadership roles, and - women leadership is encouraged through special efforts. In small co-operative societies, management functions are carried out by the members of elected committees. Hence it is essential that committee members of such societies are also trained in carrying out management tasks relevant to their needs. Personnel: Co-operative organizations should employ more women at all levels. employees have a vital role to play in the establishment and management of economically efficient co-operative organizations. It is, therefore, essential that: - special training/development programmes for women employees be introduced in order to ensure women's promotion to higher positions; - modern personnel policies be applied; - employees have an awareness and understanding of the co- operative principles, practices and values; and - they be professionally qualified and given needed training. Potential Members: Co-operative knowledge should be disseminated among potential members and the public at large. Policy Makers: Policy Makers in government ministries/departments and development agencies shall be made aware of co-operative principles, values, co-operative development policies, and the importance of involving women in co-operative activities. Registrar of Co-operative Societies: The present Registrar of Co-operative Societies has had no previous training or experience in co-operative work. In view of his important role, the Mission recommends that he be given an orientation in co-operative law administration, operation of the co-operative department, and co-operative development in one or two countries. It is also essential that he be provided with adequate staff to assist him in co-op registration work which is bound to grow rather fast in the coming years. As women constitute a significant proportion of co-op membership and as there are special women co-operatives, a post looking after women involvement in co-operatives be created at national level. The staff of the department would need training. As there is no experience available in regard to co-operative law administration in Namibia, it is recommended that the Government obtain the services of an expatriate expert to provide on-the-job training to the staff that would be recruited in the Registrar's office. At this stage the Mission does not see the need for a Co- operative Training Institute. Identified needs of training for the co-operative sector may be handled by the existing NGOs engaged in co-operative training. Similarly existing training institutions be utilized for training government extension officers concerned with co-operative development by including a co-operative package in their normal training activities. The reason for this recommendation is the need to utilise the scarce resources for co-operative promotion and development work rather than for putting up infrastructure. 9. Women in Co-operative Development ------------------------------------- As in other African countries, agriculture in communal areas in Namibia is mostly carried on by women. Women are also active in traditional arts and crafts. Women also play an important role in the informal sector. They perform very important tasks as housewives, mothers, and managers of the household. The Mission, therefore recommends that Women must be actively involved in the work relating to planning, organization and development of co-operatives of all types. We were informed that women suffer from many legal and social disabilities. We suggest that a careful study of the legal and other constraints that inhibit women's participation in social and economic life as human beings and in co-operatives and community activities be made and early steps taken to remove these handicaps. 10. Capital, Marketing and Technology -------------------------------------- Capital: Adequacy of capital is an important requirement for the stability and growth of co-operative organizations. The Mission recommends that efforts should be made right from the beginning to build up sufficient members' capital as an index of self-reliance, for safeguarding independence of action (autonomy), and as a basis for securing needed loan funds. members' capital can be built up through share capital contributions by members, placement of savings by members in the co-operative in various forms, and plough back of surplus to reserves by the co-op. Attractive methods and schemes for raising capital through the above three sources should be formulated by the co-operative management, keeping in view the members' convenience, the need to raise capital at as low cost as possible, and the market conditions. As regards the surplus, the relevant considerations are: how much economic benefit should be given to the members in the short run and how much in the long run. (The long-term benefit in terms of prices and quality of services will accrue as a result of capital build-up.) Decisions required in this regard relate to the pricing policy as well, since the prices charged will determine the size of the surplus. Members' capital is usually not enough in modern day conditions. Both the members and the co-ops need short and long-term loans for carrying on their economic enterprises. namibian constitution suggests affirmative action for the less advantaged persons. The Mission, therefore, recommends that appropriate credit schemes be formulated by the government, the Land Bank and the FNDC to lend a helping hand to the disadvantaged persons and their co-ops. Some of the groups in need of such assistance are subsistence farmers, returnees, new settlers, artisans, craftsmen and women. The needs to be buttressed by external support in the form of seed money and working capital. Some support may also be given in the form of grants for building co-operative infrastructure. For example, agricultural co-ops may be helped with an appropriate mix of loans and grants for constructing storage facilities. However, the Mission would like to emphasis that the quantum and the terms of assistance should be such as would not weaken the spirit of self-reliance. Marketing: An important objective of producers' co-operatives is to obtain remunerative prices for their members. Efficient marketing is, therefore, the key to their success and for creating and sustaining members' confidence in co-operatives. Hence the co-ops formed by farmers, fishermen, artisans and other producers should give top most priority to the marketing function. Co-operatives should try to find new and more distant markets, including export markets, in order to secure better prices for the produce of the members. Grading and standardization, establishing market brands, market promotion and advertising, processing, improving the product to suit the market, and better packing and labelling are some of the aspects that must be attended to for successful marketing of agricultural produce. It is important to crease and increase the members' confidence in co-operatives, when systems for managing the co- ops are developed. Producing early varieties in order to reach the markets ahead of competitors fetch better prices. Even new products must be introduced. For example, the FNDC suggests "that there is a high production potential for products which can be produced out of season for the European market such as dates, olives, citrus, sugar, tobacco, groundnut, flowers and prickly pears. In this field there is considerable scope for job-creating commercial enterprises in communal areas." (Agriculture in Northern Namibia-Fundamentals and Potential- A position paper assembled by the FNDC, page 14, January, 1990). At present the communal areas in the North are not adequately linked with the internal as well as external markets. There is great need to build infrastructure in these areas in the form of roads, provision of transport and communication facilities, establishment of market centres, and construction of a network of storage and warehousing facilities. This is basically a function for the State. The implementing bodies would be members, co-operatives, government, FNDC, marketing boards, NGOs and the private sector. Technology: Technology has an important role in raising productivity. However, technology is generally understood as increased use of capital and machines. Machines generally displace labour in any given situation. And we need capital to purchase and install machines. In Namibia, like any other developing country, capital is scarce and labour is abundant especially in communal areas and among the black people in the urban areas. Unemployment is at present a serious problem in Namibia. Hence the above concept of technology valid for industrialized countries is not relevant and useful to developing countries. Hence development practitioners now advocate appropriate technology for developing country situations; which means application of such production, social and economic organization methods that would use less capital and more labour. In view of the growing unemployment problem and the scarcity of capital, the Mission recommends the application of appropriate technology using, wherever possible, labour intensive and capital-saving methods, specially in agriculture, agro-processing, cottage and small- scale industries. Co-operatives in all sectors should also use appropriate technology. 11. Some Pre-requisites ------------------------ Land Tenure: It has been pointed out earlier that it is necessary to transform subsistence farming in communal areas to market- oriented agriculture by raising the productivity on communal lands and thereby creating a surplus for sale in the market. Such a strategy calls for considerable improvements and investment in agriculture on the part of farmers. However, the present land tenure system allows the farmers the use of land; the farmers do not have a title to the land; they cannot offer land as security for loans; lands cultivated by farmers cannot be inherited as a matter of right by the farmer's wife or his children. Under such a situation farmers are unwilling and unable to make investments in land, with the result that agriculture in communal areas is stagnating or even deteriorating in terms of productivity. The Mission therefore recommends as follows: i. Farmers in communal areas be given leasehold rights for up to 99 years in respect of lands they are already occupying. Such an arrangement does not disturb the existing situation of occupancy and hence should be acceptable to the chiefs as well as farmers. ii. A decision be taken in regard to the right to bequeath land, keeping in view the need to have economic size of the farms, and the need to avoid fragmentation. A Land Conference is scheduled to be held in June 1991 to consider the Land Question including the land tenure in communal areas. As land tenure has an important bearing on the growth of the agricultural co-operatives, the representative meeting decided to hold the Co-operative Policy Workshop after the results of the Land Conference are available. Agricultural Prices: The prices farmers receive have an important bearing on agricultural productivity. Farmers make their decisions regarding investment in land improvements, the type of farming to be adopted, and the crops to be produced on the basis of the prices of various agricultural commodities and the return they would get on invested money and work. It is of utmost importance that a market oriented farming system allows the farmers a reasonable incomes. For a variety of reasons prices of farm products are subject to wide fluctuations which have a destabilising effect on farmers and on agricultural production. Governments need to guarantee minimum support prices if they want to stabilize or encourage production. Such prices should be announced before the sowing season or the beginning of the production cycle in the case of long-duration crops and livestock/dairy industry. In the case of Namibia there is a great need to develop a marketed-oriented agricultural system which guarantees the communal farmer an income which is attractive enough to promote cultivation of food crops. Such a price policy is also desirable in respect of products such as sunflower whose production needs to be encouraged. Another relevant question in this connection is the need to restrict imports during the transition period when communal farmers are taking to market-oriented production and, agro- processing facilities and agri-inputs production are in their incipient stages. Farmers organizations such as the Namibian Farmers Union and the Namibian Communal Farmers Union need to establish price- monitoring units and machinery for negotiating with the government for agricultural price-setting. Infrastructure development: Reference has already been made to the need to develop infrastructure for facilitating agricultural marketing. Similarly infrastructure in the form of irrigation facilities, and agricultural extension and veterinary services need to be developed to facilitate and stimulate production by communal and emerging black commercial farmers. Similarly access to credit even by establishing a special institution for the hitherto disadvantaged persons should be facilitated if the full potential of communal farmers is to be realized. 12. Role of External Development Organizations ----------------------------------------------- The Mission has outlined the support needed by the Co- operatives in Namibia for the development and also indicated the role of the NGOs and the Government of Namibia in this regard. Considering the budgetary constraints of the Government and the lack of technical expertise in Namibia, it would be necessary for the external development organizations to provide the needed support for the benefit of co-operative development. This question was discussed by the Mission at the representative meeting held on 30th January, 1991, and it was agreed that a consultation with development organizations be held by the Government of Namibia in collaboration with ICA in October/November, 1991 for the purpose of giving information on co-operative development needs in Namibia and seeking their collaboration. The details of the consultation including the tentative programme agreed at the meeting are given below: Consultation with Development Organizations ******************************************* Objectives: a. To inform the development organisations of the current status of the co-operative sector in Namibia and its development potential; also co-operative development policy, strategy and priorities; and b. To seek collaboration, in a coordinated way, of the Development Organizations in promoting co-operative development in Namibia. Dates: Three days in October/November 1991. Participants: a. Representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, water and Rural Development, b. Co-operatives, c. Non-governmental organisations, d. Representatives of international development organisations, e. Representatives of the ICA. Organizers: a. Government of Namibia b. International Co-operative Alliance (ICA). Responsibilities: a. Host facilities: Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Development, Government of Namibia,, b. Invitations and direction: ICA. Tentative Programme: 1st Day: Morning: Co-operative situation and prospects of co-operative development in Namibia presented by the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA). Discussions. Afternoon: Co-operative Development Policy presented by MOA. Discussions. 2nd day: Morning: Strategy of Co-operative Development presented by MOA. Discussions. Role of NGOs, University and Research bodies in Co-operative Development, presented by an NGO or a Research Body. Discussions. Afternoon: Needs of assistance from abroad by the Co- operative Sector in Namibia presented by MOA and NGOs. Discussions. 3rd day: Morning: Presentations by Development Organizations. Discussions. Afternoon: Informal meetings. Summing up ---------- Namibia is a newly independent country at last free from the yoke of colonialism and oppressive apartheid. She has adopted a Constitution which is modern and democratic and set for herself socio-economic goals which are worthy of support by the international community. Namibia has a dual economy with, a modern sector based on mining and commercial agriculture, and a third-world sector characterized by communal subsistence level farming. The majority of the population is dependent on agriculture and some fifty-five per cent of them live in extreme poverty. The Mission found that there is great scope for self-help groups and co-operatives to enable people to improve their conditions through their own efforts. Government policies appear geared towards this objective rather than taking things in its own hands. There is an upsurge in the number of activities of the non-governmental organisations, which augur well for the development of self-help groups and co- operatives. The Mission has made recommendations for the purpose of stimulating the promotion and growth of a voluntary and autonomous co-operative sector. It was heartening to observe that the Government was prepared to allow co-operatives to establish and grow on their own. It is the Mission's hope that its recommendations would lead towards the formulation of a Co-operative Development Policy which would embody these aspirations and the eventual establishment of an efficient Co- operative Sector in Namibia.