Cooperative initiators meeting
The Centre for Environment and Community Assets Development (CECAD) has implemented many projects aiming to improve living standards in the Tu Ne and Thanh Hoi villages over an eight year period. Support from CECAD has enabled many households to climb out of poverty through developing their farming techniques and gaining extra income from alternative sources such as beekeeping, growing mushrooms and community-based tourism.
Due to limited access to market information, capital and lack of business skills farmers still buy at high prices and sell through middlemen rather than directly to customers. Recognizing that farmers work very hard for often little profit, CECAD have developed an idea to establish a sale and purchase cooperative. This will help farmers make use of cooperative strength and to exclude middlemen therefore increasing profit. This idea is supported by district and communal authorities. After researching the market and visiting successful cooperatives in Hanoi, CECAD concluded Tu Ne and Thanh Hoi cooperative should develop a model to produce clean farming products. As it will not only protect the environment but also the producers and consumers health. CECAD have visited every village in the area to introduce this model to farmers including the advantages and disadvantages of participating in the cooperative. According to surveys conducted after each meeting, 80% of participants wanted to join the cooperative’s activities.
On Friday 14th September 2012, 10 initiators of the cooperative had a meeting at Thanh Hoi People’s Committee, where a provisional Management Board was selected. The cooperative has been temporarily named “Binh Minh Service and Rural Development Cooperative.” The Management Board along with the initiators wants to complete all necessary procedures so that the cooperative can establish as soon as possible. CECAD will assist with the cooperative throughout the initial phases. Members of the Management Board will be trained managerial skills, how to develop business plans and how to access market information from the internet. Cooperative members will also be trained in production and cleanliness. CECAD will provide a small budget equivalent to six months’ salary of the Management Board. In addition, a printer and computer with access to internet have been provided to the cooperative’s Management Board. This will help with the management of the cooperative and provide market information to all members ahead of time. Members of Tu Ne and Thanh Hoi’s cooperative have the opportunity to visit other successful models in Vietnam. Authorities of Tu Ne and Thanh Hoi communes promise to provide land for offices and manufacture buildings. This project hopes to connect farmers to wider social and economic systems and connect the Management Board with members of the cooperative.