Haramaya University Hosted 3rd Federal Cooperative Agency Conference

 

Haramaya University in collaboration with the Federal Cooperative Agency (FCA) hosted the 3rd Ethiopian Cooperative Development Conference themed “Cooperative for Sustainable Production and Consumption” on June 07/2018 at the Main Campus.

Prof. Nigussie Dechassa, Vice-president for Academic Affairs, in his welcoming remark said that “To further enhance and strengthen the socio-economic impact of the [cooperative] sector in our country, all stakeholders should exert their extravagant effort. To this purpose, academicians and researchers should take part through conducting research and preparing different panel discussions and conferences pertaining to the necessary issues in this sector. That is why the Department of Cooperatives under the College of Business and Economics is actively involved in organizing such conferences as well as in teaching, researching, and mentoring cooperatives.”

He also added that “In our communities, cooperatives can play a vital role. As an academic unit or institution of higher learning, we should survey our area, zoom in and out on the communities surrounding us, be it farmers and urban dwellers.”

In his opening speech, H.E. Prof. Fekadu Beyene, Deputy Minister of State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resource, said, “Cooperative societies are contributing their part to the productivity of the agriculture sector through providing the necessary agricultural inputs for farmers and pastoralist communities in the country. In addition, the sector is also working hard to improve individual members’ income by means of product value addition and through searching for better marketing access for members’ products.”

Moreover, the role of cooperative societies for urban dwellers is inescapable. Cooperative societies are working on the provision of consumable products at reasonable prices and also the sector is creating greater employment opportunity for the urban community. By using agricultural products of their members’ as an input, some cooperative unions (secondary level cooperative societies) are also engaged in high capital-intensive investments, like food complex factory. Additionally, saving and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOs) are playing countless roles in developing the saving culture of both rural and urban population of the country, in addition to encouraging members in providing short-term and long-term loans.

On behalf of FCA, Mr. Abdi Mohammed, Deputy Director General of the FCA, also gave a brief explanation of the success, challenges and the way forward on Ethiopian cooperative development. Cooperatives play a vital role in economic development in all sectors of the economy: create a well-organized and properly functioned cooperatives’ links, and supply new technologies and marketing for its members, and create a modern production and marketing system.

The basic goal of a savings and credit association is to encourage thrift/savings among its members not to make a profit, or not to supply charity, but to provide services. Members are paid dividends on shares and interest on savings/deposits. SACCOs grant loans to members who might not qualify for credit elsewhere and who cannot afford the high loan rates offered in either the informal sector or by other types of financial institutions.

Even though saving and credit cooperative societies play a vital role in improving its members’ livelihood in general and women members in particular, the existing published literature in Ethiopia is limited. Very limited research was conducted in Ethiopia on the impact of SACCOs; therefore, there is information gap regarding the impact of SACCOs on women members’ livelihood.

Guests from FCA, Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), NGOs, Heads of Harari  Region and Dire Dawa Administrative Cooperative Promotion and East and West Hararghe zone Cooperative Promotion leaders, Cooperative Union managers from different part of the country as well as  Cooperative Department heads of public universities were in attendance. Seven research articles were presented, and participants reflected their views, concerns and opinions towards the articles.

The closing remark was made by Prof. Kebede W/Tsadik Vice-president for Community Engagement and Enterprises Development.

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