Findings: LWD-Supported Agriculture Cooperatives Improve Livelihoods of the Poor
Phnom Penh (11 May, 2012) – Agriculture Cooperatives (ACs) supported by Life With Dignity (LWD) played an important role in improving the livelihood of poor people in its target areas, according to the preliminary findings of an evaluation on the operation of ACs presented at a half-day workshop today.
LWD Executive Director Dr. Sam Inn said that the preliminary findings were very important for LWD. It would be used for further strengthening the future support of LWD.
LWD supported the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery (MAFF) to establish ACs in 2008 in its target areas, aiming to improve the livelihoods of poor farmers in rural communities. AC supports its members to (i) have access to information on agricultural markets, (ii) produce what the market demands, (iii) access to markets, and (iv) build their capacity in new farming techniques and money management.
Mr. Ung Vong Doeun, Deputy Governor for Tuek Phos District of Kampong Chhnang province, deeply thanked LWD for its continued support to improve the livelihoods of the rural poor. LWD’s Country Strategy contributed to the poverty reduction of the poor in line with the National Strategic Plan of the government, he said.
He also highly appreciated the good cooperation of LWD with the Provincial Department of Agriculture and the local authorities in supporting the establishment of ACs.
Dr. Mak Soeun, Director of Department of Agricultural Extension, MAFF, said 273 ACs were officially established from 2003-2011 and functioning. Of the total 14 ACs were established under LWD’s support.
He said the government would continue to provide more technical supports for the existing ACs and establish more ACs across the country. “We have to strengthen the capacity of ACs so that they become strong economic enterprises,” he said.
He requested that LWD continue to collaborate with the Department of Agricultural Extension and Provincial Department of Agriculture and continue the establishment and strengthen the capacity of ACs through the formation and strengthening of organizational structures of the AC.
The evaluation, led by an external independent consultant, aimed to explore both negative and positive impacts of the establishment and operation of ACs, the supports to their members, and their sustainability.
The Team found that most ACs faced challenges in their operation over the past years. They included (i) small capital investment and no saving plan for increasing their capital, (ii) limited capacity of the committees in accounting and management skills and lack of awareness raising for their members on ACs, and (iii) uncertainty in identifying the types of business.
The findings included some recommendations for LWD and ACs to take further actions. For LWD, the Team recommended that the provision of technical support should focus on capacity building, business identification and development. For ACs, the Team recommended that all ACs must look at the possibility in increasing shares, capital and members, and building up networks with other funding sources.
For more information, please contact:
LEAK Ratna (Mr.)
Communications Coordinator, LWD
Tel: 012 819 121