Benin: ACOODER - 25 years of existence, 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.3-6)

                              BENIN

                    Association Cooperative pour 
          le Developpement Rural de Banikoara (ACOODER) - 
                       25 years of existence.... 
                         by Sinigui Toundo
          ************************************************


I    Historical Background
--------------------------
The "Association Cooperative pour le Developpement Rural de
Banikoara" (ACOODER) has a three (3) decade historical
background. It was born out of the ashes of the "Societe
Indigene de Prevoyance Sociale" S.I.P. which later became the
"Societe Africaine de Prevoyance" (S.A.P.)

In actual fact, ACOODER is the offshoot of the Association
Cooperative pour le Developpement Economique et Social de
Banikoara (A.D.E.S.B.) since 10th December 1971. A.D.E.S.B.
was a simple association of producers that was under the
authority of the sub-prefect; its aims and duty were to make
up for the public administration's lapses in setting up
socio-communal infrastructure.

A.D.E.S.B. was funded by mandatory deductions made from the
earnings of producers each  farming season. 

As from 1971, A.D.E.S.B. underwent legal and institutional
reform and acquired a co-operative status : ACOODER was thus
born.

II   Constitution
-----------------
The "Association Cooperative pour le Developpement Rural De
BANIKOARA" (ACOODER), which adopted the integrated development 
formula, and is present throughout BANIKOARA sub-prefecture,
was constituted into a General Assembly on 10th December 1971
with share capital of Five Million, Five Hundred thousand
(5.500.000) CFA francs, that is 11,000 shares of 500F. It is a
union of producer groupings which operate at the village level
in the area of organisation, production and sale of
agricultural produce.

The union is responsible for the wholesale purchase of
manufactured raw materials and other products considered
necessary which it puts at the disposal of producers in
decentralised shops for everyday consumption. The profits made
from these various operations make it possible to undertake
socio-communal projects.   

III  Mission and Objectives of ACOODER
---------------------------------------
The main objective of ACOODER is to help its members to manage
their farms, improve the productivity of their work and their
level and environment.

To achieve this, it manages the inputs and helps to popularise
modern cultivation techniques and methods for creating
farmers' organisations alongside public institutions such as
CARDER.

Supplying members with equipment and consumer goods is a main
objective. That is why service stations were established, that
is, shops for selling farming tools, building materials,
hardware, drinks, and pharmaceutical products at prices
studied and fixed by the Management Committee.

ACOODER also assigned itself the objective of facilitating all
operations leading to primary processing and sale of
agricultural, animal, forest products and crafts. 

The building and fitting up of warehouses and workshops and
the purchase of scales and other documents for the sale of
agricultural products are the concentrated expression of the
co-operatives desire to really support the activities of its
members.

The social aspect of ACOODER was given concrete expression
through the institution of a system of granting loans in kind
and the sale of agricultural inputs on a hire-purchase basis.

IV   Structure and Operations
-----------------------------
ACOODER is a third-level co-operative. The vertical structure
of the organisation, goes from the village to the
sub-prefecture via the communes. 

4.1  Village Level:

Producers are grouped in a sub-section managed by a five
(5)-member council. The equivalent of the sub-section is the
village grouping (G.V.) ACOODER has sixty-four (64)
sub-sections..

It is within these sub-sections that the principle of joint
and several guarantee is applied.

4.2  Communal Level:

The section is led by a committee composed of delegates of the
sub-sections. It serves as a forum for merging the viewpoints
of the sub-sections. 

The section does not have an economic role. However, the
section committee monitors good operation of the shop for
selling manufactured goods set up at its level by the Union.
There are ten (10) sections.

4.3  Sub-Prefectural Level:

The "Association Cooperative pour le Developpement Rural de
BANIKOARA" (ACOODER) is the Union of the aforementioned
organisations whose role was outlined above. 

It is administered by a fifteen (15)-member Management
Committee elected by delegates of the General Assembly
members. This Management Committee is composed of : 10
farmers, 2 livestock rearers, 2 craftsmen, 1 representative of
women's groupings

This Management Committee has designated six (6) members who
are in charge of the routine management of the enterprise in
liaison with ACOODER.

4.4  Management Level:

The Director is designated by the Management Committee to
supervise the daily management of the co-operative. He is in
charge of implementing all Management Committee decisions
together with its Chairman. He is the technical adviser of the
Management Committee and its head of personnel. 

4.5  Personnel:

Personnel are recruited by the Management Committee by
testing. They are paid by ACOODER. There are eighteen (18)
staff members (a director, a secretary, a cashier, an
accountant, a shopkeeper, seven managers and two assistant
managers for the shops, drinking spots and service stations, 2
drivers, and three watchmen). 

V.   Funding
------------
ACOODER's funding is derived mainly from its activities and
other services.

Precisely, ACOODER's earnings are derived from:

*    Three (3) shops
*    Two (2) drinking spots
*    Two (2) petrol and lubricant stations
*    The sale of cereals
*    The renting of its buildings

And, finally, services rendered by its ten (10)-ton vehicle.

The shops, drinking spots and stations are established in
certain district capitals of the sections (Banikoara,
Founougo, Goumori, Toura, Somperekou).   

VI.  Achievements
-----------------
ACOODER' achievements are divided into three major categories:

-    Economic investments
-    Socio-economic investments
-    Socio-cultural investments

These investments include dams, warehouses, primary,
secondary, university education, literacy training, health
(construction of community clinics), training of  ordinary
members, elected officers and employees)

VII. Difficulties
------------------
The "Association Cooperative pour le Developpement Rural"
(ACOODER) of BANIKOARA, which is a multi-purpose co-operative,
has a few management problems. 

As in other enterprises, since the advent of the political
democratisation process and economic liberalisation, ACOODER
is faced with stronger and diverse economic competition, and
this competition is often unfair.

The environment is marked by the economic crisis whose impact
is felt by a reduction in the purchasing power of members, the
high level of management and service costs, monopoly over
exports by state agencies or multinationals, the cost of
agricultural inputs which are generally imported by private
companies and the high cost of essential commodities. Added to
all that, the growth of the cotton sector has led to a strong
presence of private traders, most of whom introduce contraband
goods on to the market at unbeatable prices. Given this
analysis of the situation, ACOODER'S profit margin has been
reduced and is weighed down by personnel and operational costs
and taxes.

VIII. Perspectives
------------------
ACOODER can be considered as a more or less completed form of
rural co-operative. However, it has certain shortcomings whose
correction is included in an action plan.
Lack of information for co-operators,

*    Poor assimilation of co-operative principles (General
     Assembly's lack of reflex to report to the base,
     self-denial).

ACOODER's Management Committee and administration should
embrace the training and information of co-operators and
involve them more in decision-taking.

The services must consider the opinions and interests of the
base which unavoidably implies: 

*    Holding regular General Assemblies

*    Programming expenditure in action plans and preparing
     coherent budgets to avoid complacent and lax management.

*    The generalisation of literacy and the popularisation of
     co-operative principles.

*    Orientation toward diversifying agricultural production
     to overcome the practice of commercial production of a
     single product, notably cotton.

*    Processing agricultural products and harvested crops by
     the installation of small processing units in women's
     groupings.

*    Producing inputs using natural products (manure, animal
     waste, humus, etc...)

Environmental protection by organising permanent awareness
campaigns on reforestation, premature bush-fires, an end to
abusive forest exploitation, and the control of grazing lands.

ACOODER intends to propose the following major socio-cultural
projects for discussion by its various organs:

*    Building a training centre

*    Building a recreational centre for co-operators

*    Establishing small processing units for agricultural
     products and harvested crops in women's groupings.

*    Establishing a modern farm for young school dropouts and
     unemployed graduates 

*    Building a training centre for young girls.

The achievement of the above-mentioned projects will only be
possible with the participation of NGO's and partners in the
development of the rural world.

IX.  Conclusion
---------------
The BANIKOARA Sub-prefecture with a population of nearly
one-hundred and ten thousand (110,000) inhabitants and
covering nearly six thousand nine hundred and twenty-two
(6,922) sq.km. is the cotton-belt of BENIN. The people of this
sub-prefecture are farmers. 

Today, ACOODER is a co-operative society engaged in solving
the social, economic and cultural problems of the people of
BANIKOARA. 

It bears great hopes and is probably the mainstay of the
people of BANIKOARA.

**********************
Name:                    Association Cooperative pour  le
                         Developpement Rural de Banikoara   
Acronym:                 ACOODER-BANIKOARA   
Telephone:               (229) 65-02-20 
Operational Zone:        Northern Region of Benin 
Major activity:          Sale of cotton 
Date of Establishment:   10 December 1971    
Primary Co-operatives:   64   
Individual Members:      11500     
Chairman of the 
Management Committee:    Alidou OROU WAGOU   
Managing Director:       SINIGUI TOUNDO