JIS News

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  • The Senate, on Friday (June 12), approved a motion for a comprehensive review of the Co-operative Societies Act to, among other things, provide the stimulus and the supportive framework for the growth of small and medium-sized farm enterprises.
  • The motion, moved by Senator Norman Grant, also seeks to remove the restriction on legal entities becoming members of cooperatives and provide scope for capitalisation for all types of cooperatives.
  • Senator Grant said the strengthening and modernisation of the Co-operative Societies Act is critical in addressing some of the challenges being faced by the nation’s farmers.

The Senate, on Friday (June 12), approved a motion for a comprehensive review of the Co-operative Societies Act to, among other things, provide the stimulus and the supportive framework for the growth of small and medium-sized farm enterprises.

The motion, moved by Senator Norman Grant, also seeks to remove the restriction on legal entities becoming members of cooperatives and provide scope for capitalisation for all types of cooperatives.

It will also bring the benefits of commercialisation, capitalisation and managerial expertise to Jamaica’s small farmers, and others.

Senator Grant said the strengthening and modernisation of the Co-operative Societies Act is critical in addressing some of the challenges being faced by the nation’s farmers.

“This resolution is truly dedicated to our farmers across the length and breadth of Jamaica, all 228,000 of them, for their advancement of their own lives and their families and their rural communities,” he pointed out.

He said the review of the Act will make special provision for housing, workers’ and farmers’ cooperatives, and reorganise the landscape for production.

“So, there is not a lot of capital around and there may not be a lot of intellectual capacity within existing cooperatives, but if we can reorganise the legal framework, use the labour and what the farmers have and what our people have, I am sure that it can lead to tremendous transformation …and expedite the growth agenda in a very big way,” he contended.

In supporting the motion, Opposition Senator Kavan Gayle, said cooperatives have played a significant role in the economy for many centuries, noting that the contribution to the “success of the agricultural sector is only one example.”

“If we are serious about reducing our debt burden and creating a sustainable economy, we must recognise that cooperatives offer very good prospects for utilising available domestic resources to achieve prosperity. We must accept the fact that it also reduces our reliance on international loans,” he pointed out.

While supporting the motion, Government Senator Imani Duncan Pryce, suggested that the review should also take into consideration gender equality and youth participation. This, she said, is in keeping with Vision 2030 Jamaica, which calls for the realisation of a striving, inclusive agricultural sector.

For his part, Opposition Senator Arthur Williams said the revision of the Act is an important one as the legislation is in need of modernisation and reform.

He said it will assist in providing the institutional framework for legal incorporation of large and small farmers in the island.

Mr. Williams noted that the review should not be restricted to the Cooperatives Societies Act, but should also include the Industrial and Providence Societies Act and the Friendly Societies Act, all of which he said, are based on the cooperatives principle.