Written by Olika Urgessa, Cooperative advisor Ethiopia
Resource mobilisation and members’ commitment in realising the establishment of new enterprises can solve certain cooperative members’ problems.
In July 2022, with the support of Agriterra and the Bridge project, Badhadhina wal’argi dairy primary cooperative was established with an initial membership of 50 persons and an initial capital of 5000 ETB. As a result of board members commitment, Badhadhina wal’argi dairy primary cooperative constructed an animal feed storage with a capacity of 12000 kg.
The cooperative is located nearby operational area of Chercher Oda Bultum FCU where Agriterra was providing training to milk-producing farmers. After crop residue treatment for animal feed training, milk producing farmers raised the interest of establishing a dairy primary cooperative with the objective of solving insufficient animal feed supply nearby members. The zonal cooperative promotion agency in charge of organising and registering cooperatives, became willing to support the farmers in organising themselves through a dairy cooperative. The objective was to improve the life of their members by supplying quality feed at a fair price.
The general assembly of the cooperative decided to construct a feed storage facility and all members agreed to contribute in order to realise their ambition. The Bridge project showed interest in supporting the dairy cooperative but access to land needed for the construction of the storage facility was a big challenge for the cooperative. The land proposed by the government had no access to any road and was therefore not suitable for members to collect animal feed. The board members agreed to take responsibility and designated part of their individually owned land for cooperative use. For example, Fikire Tadesse, chairperson of the cooperative, said in the middle of the discussion: “Commitment starts from here, let me donate a small area of land to my cooperative.”
The board members and Agriterra cooperative advisors have visited the site. It is located 10 meters of the main, asphalted road that connects to Zonal town. The value of land has an estimated market value of 200,000 ETB. The Agriterra team decided to support committed milk-producing farmers and started a resource mobilisation activity.
Immediately after the land donation from the chairperson, the cooperative members started to contribute. The first contribution was to level the land for the feed storage which represented an estimated cost of 30,000 ETB. The levelling work was done by 90 persons, of which 50 were women.
The construction of the feed storage facility by the strongly committed cooperative members and due to the support of the Bridge project, has created a good opportunity for the dairy primary cooperative. The Chercher Oda Bultum farmers’ Cooperative Union animal feed processing plant is currently in the commissioning stage. The plant has started production of the dairy, calf, and fattening concentrate feed. The union board members have already visited the dairy primary cooperative feed storage facility for market linkage purposes.
In 2023, the cooperative board members received a basic concept training on cooperative roles and responsibilities towards their animal feed storage facility constructed, as shown below.
Members have contributed 35,000 ETB in funds, whereas labour costs have been estimated to be 30,000 ETB. The land’s estimated value is 200,000 ETB. As a result of Agriterra’s resource mobilisation strategy and support, the cooperative has increased its capital from 5000 ETB to 250,000 ETB.
As a result of the support, the dairy primary cooperative has constructed an animal feed storage facility of 12000 kg. The membership of the cooperative has increased from 50 to 100 persons in five-months’ time. By sharing this experience, other elected committee members have also donated land to their cooperative.
The primary cooperatives have communicated with Chercher Oda Bultum board members about the market linkage of the concentrate feed supply. Reasonable capacity storage is constructed near milk producers so that the quality feed supply will be realised soon.
The cooperative has requested the union to work as a concentrate feed distribution agent to members of the cooperative. Now, the cooperative is seen as a role model because of achieving its ambition in a short period of time due to the commitment shown from both elected committee members and members in general.
As a result of Agriterra’ s and the Bridge project support, milk producing farmers have become the owners of a feed storage that can contribute a lot to the increase of their milk production and accessibility of quality feed at a reasonable price. Agriterra has supported the committed members through the supply of corrugated sheets of iron and other materials through the Bridge project. The cooperative will inaugurate the feed storage facility in the near future. The construction of the feed storage facility will solve members’ problems and accelerate the growth of cooperatives. Great commitment brings great success.