ICT Update Issue 55, June 2010: Cooperatives

Working together in a cooperative has many advantages for farmers. Collating their harvested crops means they can sell in bulk, demand better prices and have greater bargaining powers with buyers. Pooling resources also creates the opportunity to buy expensive equipment, such as food-processing and packaging machinery. Many cooperatives now also invest in communications technology to help train farmers, find new markets, improve management processes and deliver information services to their members.

‘Cooperatives can do a lot to improve food and nutrition security, foreign exchange earnings, and foreign savings.’ Jethro Greene, coordinator of the Caribbean Farmers’ Network. http://ictupdate.cta.int/en/regulars/perspectives/(issue)/55

‘Personally, I can’t see how we could work without ICTs anymore; telephones, e-mail and the internet have become such an integral part of our everyday work.’ Agnes Namuhisa, director for cooperative development with the Tanzania Federation of Cooperatives.

The Coffee Growers Association of Oaxaca in Mexico uses software, called DigitalICS, to help farmers to improve the quality of their coffee.

A cooperative of shea butter producers in southern Mali uses ICTs to market their product, improve management systems, and train members in new processing techniques.

Specially developed software helps Kenyan coffee cooperatives manage their business, and provides their members with accurate accounts and transparent record keeping.

A broad partnership of individuals, businesses, NGOs, and government departments is supporting an ICT cooperative to improve rural connectivity in the Butajira area of Ethiopia.

ICT Update (http://ictupdate.cta.int) is a bimonthly printed bulletin, web magazine, and accompanying email newsletter focusing on the use of information and communication technologies in agriculture in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. It is published in English and French, by CTA (Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation) in Wageningen in the Netherlands.