Following the Intervention of 2SCALE in the cassava value chain in Ekiti there is a growing need to ensure smallholder farmers are organised into cooperatives. An advantage of working as a cooperative includes access to guaranteed supplies and market in a contractual manner — an approach alien to most smallholder farmers in Nigeria.
2SCALE therefore supported the formation and strengthening of six cooperatives in Ekiti State in Esure, Iropora, Ara, Osin, Omuo and Ilasa. The business support service provider; Onelife Initiative for Human Development made the process convenient for farmers as they provided all the information they needed which include where the registration is to be done, how much they will pay at each stage. The SHFs were supported with a percentage of the registration fee while the farmers group came up with the other as their Partners Contribution. Following this, they began to approach commercial banks to open bank accounts with at least two signatories.
Using the Mycoop Model
Onelife Initiative also took it a step further by strengthening the cooperative societies with training using the MYCOOP model. The basic cooperative concepts and principles were discussed which are voluntary and open membership, Democratic member control, Member economic participation, Autonomy and independence, Education, training and education, Cooperation among cooperatives and the Concern for community. Need assessment was also conducted including the SWOT analysis which include strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that can be used to improve the capacity of cooperative societies. They were also walked through the challenges they face in their governance structure with emphasis placed on youth and women inclusion in the leadership and grouping.
Involving other actors
The business environment was not left out, they were made to identify all the actors that are stakeholders whom the cooperative and the members interact with constantly. These actors include transporters, credit providers, government agencies, processors and input suppliers. Each cooperative with the help of the learnings have been able to select capable leaders to lead the affairs of the society, their leadership include both male and female, including youths. In each of the six locations, they have been able to see the importance of working together as a cooperative rather than as individual farmers. In the coming days, more cooperatives will be formed to ensure that the farmers can continue to interact in a coordinated form with Promise Point, the Business Champion in Itapaji, Ekiti with a daily need of 240 tonnes of Cassava.