This week over 200 agriculture co-op leaders and supporters are gathering in Antananarivo, Madagascar’s capital, for the first ever cooperative leadership conference in the country. From February 13 – 17 co-op leaders, researchers and co-op development organizations will examine the keys to strengthening the co-op sector in Madagascar.
The event is organized by the Technical Center for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA) in partnership with NCBA CLUSA and its local partners, with the support of Madagascar’s Ministry of Industry and Private Sector Development.
Around 100 Malagasy agriculture co-op leaders are expected at the forum as well as around 100 decision-makers, representatives of governmental and non-governmental organizations, donors, private investors and service providers, researchers and students.
At the center of the program will be the capacity building of leaders of agricultural cooperatives. They will be trained on the “Cooperative Life Cycle Framework” and exposed to models of so-called new generation cooperatives. Participants will also discuss how the life-cycle framework can be applied in their cooperatives.
At the same time, the forum will seek to collect as much data as possible about the cooperatives in Madagascar. Prior to the event, NCBA CLUSA conducted a CLARITY assessment of the co-op economy in Madagascar, a tool developed with the Overseas Cooperative Development Council (OCDC), a network of leading international co-op development organizations including NCBA CLUSA. The results of this scientific research and the assessment will be presented at the conference, published in 2017 and added to the analyses already carried out following two similar forums in Malawi and Uganda last year.
During the last two days, the leaders of the cooperatives will meet with private investors, donors and representatives of government agencies to start a roadmap for the development of Malagasy cooperatives. Through discussion panels and presentations, the Forum will provide an opportunity to discuss the legal framework for cooperatives and the updating of existing legislation. The Ministry of Industry, which is in charge of legislation on cooperatives, will present its vision. Non-governmental agencies will discuss changes to development programs to enable cooperatives to continue generating employment in rural areas.
The program will also focus on access to finance for the growth of the cooperative sector as well as public-private partnerships for the promotion of agricultural cooperatives, sustainable procurement and certification. On the final day, the leaders of the cooperatives will propose recommendations to the government, investors and other stakeholders involved in the transformation of Malagasy cooperatives.
Follow the event on Twitter using the hashtag #CoopMadagascar.
To learn more about NCBA CLUSA’s programs in Madagascar, you can read about our partnership with Catholic Relief Services on the USAID | Fararano program, or our volunteer opportunities with Farmer to Farmer.