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Towards a new generation of agricultural cooperatives in Madagascar

February 13, 2017

A new generation of cooperatives is possible in Madagascar. The Cooperative Leadership Forum, taking place on 13-17 February 2017 in Antananarivo, will discuss some of the keys to achieving this goal. The event is organised by CTA together with the National Cooperative Business Association and Cooperative League of the USA (NCBA/CLUSA) and its local partners, with support from the Ministry of Industry and Private Sector Development.

Farmer groups display their products in Lovasoa, MadagascarA group of farmers showcasing products in Lovasoa, Madagascar. Photo credit: USAID.

Around one hundred Malagasy agricultural cooperative leaders are participating, as well as a hundred policy makers, representatives of governmental and non-governmental organisations, donors, private investors and service providers, researchers and students.
On the first three days of the Forum, the programme will focus on strengthening the leadership and management capacity of the cooperatives' leaders. They will be introduced to the Cooperative life cycle framework and to a set of business models which are currently being applied in so-called new generation cooperatives elsewhere in Africa. Subsequently, through group discussions, they will discuss how the framework can be applied to their cooperatives.
The Forum will also provide an opportunity to collect new and detailed data on the participating cooperatives. Such a large gathering of the country’s cooperatives and farmer organisations is expected to be a fruitful source of data on their governance structures, management capacity and business performance.
On the first day, the leaders and managers will fill out an entry test to assess their own starting knowledge; they will repeat the test on the last day to ascertain how the week’s activities built on this. Additionally, in groups with co-facilitators and student assistants, they will complete a 20-page questionnaire that delves into the structure, conduct, performance and environment of their organisations. Added to the data obtained through two previous Cooperative Leadership fora organised in 2016, in Malawi and in Uganda, the results of this scientific research will feed into a publication set to be published in 2017.
Over the last two days, the cooperatives' leaders will meet with private investors, donors and governmental representatives in order to draft a roadmap for the development of a new generation of market-driven and value-adding agricultural cooperatives in Madagascar. By the means of discussion panels and presentations, the national legal and policy framework in which agricultural cooperatives currently operate will be reviewed. The Ministry of Industry, which is the main public entity in charge of policy-making for cooperatives, will present its vision. Donors and non-governmental organisations will discuss and identify opportunities for the development of projects in support of new generation cooperatives and increased rural employment.
The Forum will also discuss access to finance for the growth of the cooperative sector as well as public-private partnerships for agricultural cooperative development, sustainable sourcing and certification. On the last day, cooperatives' leaders will propose a number of recommendations to the Government, the investors and all the stakeholders involved in the transformation of Malagasy cooperatives.

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