Inter-Co-operative Exchanges (1998)

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This document has been made available in electronic
format by the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA)
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June, 1998
(Source: ICA Regional Office for West Africa -Activity Report for 1996-1997, pp.19-23)

Inter-Co-operative Exchanges
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1. Study tours and experience exchanges
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ROWA organised study tours in order to establish and encourage relationships and exchanges of experiences between member organisations.

Union Nationale des Coopératives Agricoles du Sénégal (UNCAS)
(National Union of Agricultural Co-operatives of Senegal)
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Four female co-operators of Groupements des Producteurs Maraîchers de Méouane - UGPMM (Union of Gardening Producers of Méouane) and the Director of the Union visited FECECAM in Benin from 6 to 13 April 1996. The aims of the visit were to exchange information on:

From 11 to 26 April 1996, ROWA financed a study tour for a UNCAS trainer to East Africa region. He visited savings and credit co-operatives in Kenya (7 organisations) and in Uganda (9 organisations). The aims of this study tour were to be familiarized:

He had also working sessions with trainers in order to identify research programmes, experiences exchanges programmes in view to set-up a network for inter co-operation exchanges.

Société Coopérative Agricole d'Agboville (SCAGBO) et Union des GVC Djiboua de Divo (Côte d'Ivoire)
(Agricultural Co-operative Association of Agboville and GVC Union of Djiboua)
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Further to its request, the SCAGBO and Djiboua benefited also a one-week study tour (from 14 to 21 April) in Benin for ten co-operators (7 men and 3 women).The aims of the visit were to exchange information, experiences and skills on:

Association Coopérative pour le Développement Rural (ACOODER) du Bénin - Union Régionale des Entreprises Coopératives des Savanes de Côte d'Ivoire (URECOS-CI) de Côte d'Ivoire et Union des Procucteurs de Dédougou du Burkina Faso
(Co-operative Association for Rural Development in Benin - Union of Savannah Co-operative Enterprises in Côte d'Ivoire - Union of Producers of Dedougou in Burkina Faso.)
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Ten members of co-operatives affiliated to the "Association Coopératives pour le Développement Rural" (ACOODER) in Banikoara, Benin, spent 6 days (March 24 to 30, 1997) in Mali to exchange experiences with the cotton producers co-operative members.

Fifteen members of "Union Régionale des Entreprises Coopératives des Savannes (URECOS-CI)" of Côte d'Ivoire and five members of "Union des Producteurs" of Dédougou region in Burkina visited the cotton producers of the Malian "cotton belt" from 21 to 27 April 1997.

The co-operatives selected in Benin, Burkina and Côte d'Ivoire were considered on the basis of their high level of involvement in the production and sale of cotton, and on the basis of present stakes of this speculation for farmers in the sub-region.

Two impacts already stand out. The co-operatives in the cotton-growing areas have become the driving force of the farmer movement in Benin. These organisations have been able to negotiate and obtain concessions and privileges from the government and donors (supply and distribution of inputs, collection transportation and commercialisation of cotton).

In Côte d'Ivoire, URECOS-CI is gradually becoming conscious of its strengths and recently participated in an international call to tenders for the privatisation of one of the cotton processing mills in the country.

2. Trade Exchanges
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Trade exchanges were one of the priorities which were highlighted by the organisations during the last strategic planning held between the 13th and 14th of August, 1996 in Dakar, Senegal.

This priority is justified by the present economic context which is characterised by an outrageous liberalisation of markets and very keen competition, especially in the agriculture and food sector.

ROWA has a mission to support and to serve as a catalyst of development for the co-operatives in the region.

In this light, ROWA must serve, not only as a forum of exchange of experience and communication, but also as a non profit-making facilitator of inter-co-operative exchanges.

In order to fulfill the mission and given the priority assigned to it, ROWA commissioned a consultant to carry out a regional survey which took place from 14th November through 20th December, 1997. This survey involved co-operatives in Benin, Burkina, Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire an Senegal.

The main objective of the survey is to promote the sale of products between and by co-operatives affiliated to ROWA. The survey will be followed by a regional seminar which will bring together representatives of other non co-operative partners and institutions. This seminar should help the outcomes and recommendations of the survey to be reviewed and enriched with a view to defining the areas of collaboration, as well as the conditions and modalities for setting up a co-operative network of trade exchanges.

The main constraints of co-operative which were brought to light by the survey are :

The strengths of the co-operatives which were visited are:

The principal outcome of the survey is the creation of an Inter-coop Stock Exchange which should constitute a formal framework of commercial, financial and technical co-operation for farmer organisations and co-operatives in the sub-region. The practical and operational issues relating to its creation, funding and function are addressed in the survey report which will be discussed during the seminar.