Government Committed to Growth of Cooperatives

Photo: Claudia Gardner Director of Research, Training and Development at the Department of Co-operatives and Friendly Societies, Paulette Kirkland (centre), speaks with Winfield Murray (right) of the Hanover Bee Farmers Co-operative. Occasion was a stakeholder conference staged by the Department of Co-operatives and Friendly Societies in Montego Bay, today (October 19). At left is Registrar, Errol Gallimore.

Story Highlights

  • Director General in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Vivian Brown, says the Government remains committed to the growth and development of cooperatives, as these entities are critical to Jamaica’s social and economic development.
  • He emphasised that cooperatives are an important ingredient in the Government’s thrust to stabilise the macroeconomy, create a more business-friendly environment, and stimulate domestic and foreign investments in order to move Jamaica from its “extended history of low economic growth and stagnant job creation to a path of sustained economic growth and employment expansion”.
  • The conference was aimed at enabling greater networking among credit unions and the producers and services sectors of the cooperative movement.

Director General in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Vivian Brown, says the Government remains committed to the growth and development of cooperatives, as these entities are critical to Jamaica’s social and economic development.

Addressing a stakeholder conference staged by the Department of Co-operatives and Friendly Societies (DCFS) in Montego Bay today (October 19), Mr. Brown said cooperatives are among the best ways of doing business to empower people, and must figure prominently in the country’s efforts to achieve inclusive development.

“We want cooperatives to be fully recognised as part of the solution to economic and financial problems. The time has come to include cooperative actions in major socio-economic development strategies for sustainable and equitable prosperity,” Mr. Brown said.

He emphasised that cooperatives are an important ingredient in the Government’s thrust to stabilise the macroeconomy, create a more business-friendly environment, and stimulate domestic and foreign investments in order to move Jamaica from its “extended history of low economic growth and stagnant job creation to a path of sustained economic growth and employment expansion”.

The Director General also commended the DCFS for its role in facilitating the establishment, development and supervision of the overall operations of cooperatives, which have grown over the decades to become a strong national movement.

He said new studies have shown that cooperatives are responsible for almost 10 per cent of the world’s employment and have been pivotal in bringing wealth to rural areas, preventing many families and communities from sliding into poverty.

Consequently, he said, the cooperative movement must be made commercially viable, so it can continue to serve the marginalised.

“A telling fact of the suitability of cooperatives is that during recent decades when countries in many regions have experienced collapse of their financial systems and when several market economies have experienced economic meltdown, cooperative-run businesses and industries have remained largely untouched. Here in Jamaica, the credit unions are as strong as ever,” he said.

Mr. Brown noted that c-operatives have played a vital role in strengthening the agricultural sector in particular, by giving farmers access to capital and resources they need for productivity as well as markets.

“Agricultural cooperatives have been making an important contribution to food security in numerous countries. It has now become one of the main job-creation sectors in rural areas, where the majority of the world’s population struggle with poverty and malnutrition,” he said.

The conference was aimed at enabling greater networking among credit unions and the producers and services sectors of the cooperative movement.

It was staged in collaboration with several of the island’s credit unions, and targeted members of producers and services cooperatives. Areas covered included the capitalisation of cooperatives, cooperative regulations, and the importance of training and education on cooperative development.

JIS Social