Bashe calls for cooperatives reforms to benefit farmers

COOPERATIVE Societies have been urged to restructure their roles so as to help farmers who are members to benefit from them.

The call was made in Dodoma recently by the Minister for Agriculture, Mr Hussein Bashe while inaugurating Tanzania Cooperative Development Commission (TCDC) Board.

He said it is high time the cooperatives restructure their roles so that they cannot only perform service delivery but also competitive role at the end market for farmer’s products.

“For a long time cooperative unions have been delivering services to farmers, while in the contemporary agro-business era it is supposed to perform the competitive role at the end market for the farmer’s products,” he said.

“We must think clearly and come up with appropriate solutions on how the cooperatives’ infrastructures could help to generate profit,” the minister said.

He added that the new board members have a great role to ensure the cooperative societies are restocking idle assets and reactivating them for the benefit of members.

Also, Mr Bashe told the board members that the government desired to see the cooperatives functioning and generating income, so as to reduce dependency on the central government.

Therefore, he urged the board to restructure the role of the cooperative in a shape that could help to do business and be competitive in the market for agriculture produce.

“We cannot continue to take taxpayers’ money to bail out cooperative societies’ debts, don’t rely on being service oriented, and turn it into business mode. We need strong cooperatives which can compete with the private sector in the market, “he insisted.

On his side, Permanent Secretary of the docket, Mr Andrew Massawe called upon the new board to work on clearing the existing perception about cooperative unions.

Mr Massawe expressed that people outside the cooperatives always perceive that there are only conflicts about embezzlement and extravagance of the cooperatives’ assets.

“In several meetings with the parliamentary committee, the main question is an image of the cooperative societies; we must work to improve these things,” he advised.

However, he urged the commissioners to work diligently to pay back the faith mounted to them by the minister who appointed them to serve in the team.

“We are all aware that in the past three years we had no board, so we expect more changes under your custodianship to shape the cooperative societies for the benefit of our farmers who rely on the ‘Ushirika” to improve their welfare,” he expressed.

The Chairman of the newly launched board of cooperative development commission, Mr Abdulmajid Msekela urged the appointed commissioners to enhance creativity so that it would transform the cooperative societies.

“Our commission has a relatively mixed-up diversity of members from both the private and public sectors, we all know that in the private sector we embrace speed and standard in doing our business, so the TCDC’s management should copy it,” MrMsekela.

The new board of the commission will be in charge for three consecutive years, its head (chairperson is appointed by the president while the members (commissioners) are appointed by the minister of agriculture.

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