Recommendations (1991) - Part 2

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

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

Co-operative organizations should employ more women at all

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

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
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.

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

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

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

The details of the consultation including the tentative
programme agreed at the meeting are given below:

             Consultation with Development Organizations

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.

a.   Representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture,
     Fisheries, water and Rural Development,
b.   Co-operatives,
c.   Non-governmental organisations,
d.   Representatives of international development
e.   Representatives of the ICA.

a.   Government of Namibia
b.   International Co-operative Alliance (ICA).

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

     Afternoon:     Co-operative Development Policy presented
                    by MOA.

2nd day:  Morning:  Strategy of Co-operative Development
                    presented by MOA.

                    Role of NGOs, University and Research
                    bodies in Co-operative Development,
                    presented by an NGO or a Research Body.

     Afternoon:     Needs of assistance from abroad by the Co-
                    operative Sector in Namibia presented by
                    MOA and NGOs.

3rd day:  Morning:  Presentations by Development

     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-

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.