Manual for establishing and operating cooperatives
In Niger, government ordinances concerning the establishment of cooperatives were previously the only formal rules. Therefore, project leaders had to check with the Direction de l'Action Coopérative et de la Promotion des Organisations Rurales (DACPOR) every time a cooperative was to be organized according to the purpose of the respective project activity. In addition, since cooperative establishment support manuals formulated for these projects were specific only for the respective project activities, they were inadequate to serve as reference to support the establishment of cooperatives of projects in other fields. And furthermore, in many cases, those who applied for the administrative registration of cooperatives or administrative officials of city offices who accepted such applications were not familiar with the requirements that cooperatives must meet or with the registration procedures. Therefore, DACPOR intended to develop a versatile and practical cooperative establishment manual based on laws and regulations concerning the establishment of cooperatives.
JIRCAS and DACPOR have developed a manual which contains versatile and practical information based on laws and regulations concerning the establishment of cooperatives. The purpose of this manual is to be extensively utilized for cooperative formation support for central and local administrative officials in charge of the creation of cooperatives in Niger, as well as donors or NGOs (see Fig. 1). This manual has been deliberated among representatives from agricultural offices and other related organizations from all the Niger regions through a review seminar held on June 25, 2010 and in other conferences between the parties concerned, and has finally been approved by the Nigerian government. This manual contains not only the procedures for organizing cooperatives, but also the process for formulating action plans of the cooperatives and techniques in operation and management while providing examples, and is therefore versatile and practical.
This manual explains the following items in French, which is the official language of Niger (see Fig. 2): (1) Purpose and significance of establishing cooperatives as defined by the International Cooperative Alliance; (2) Procedures for preparing or filing of articles of incorporation, by-laws and approval application for cooperatives, which are prescribed formalities required for establishing cooperatives, and formats of documents for setting up cooperatives, such as general meeting minutes, roster of participants in establishment and action plans, as well as methods for submitting these documents to city offices; (3) Necessity of maintaining transparency and fairness in electing executives such as a representative, deputy representative, accountant, secretary and person in charge of the organization, and characteristics of multiple election methods including democratic executive election; and (4) Duties of executives of the cooperatives, process for facilitating meetings, management of finances and equipment, and methods for formulating, monitoring and evaluating action plans.
Project leaders can easily understand essential concepts and procedures for the establishment and operation of cooperatives with this manual alone. The laws and regulations in that country will be given priority when this manual is applied in countries outside of Niger.
Rural Development Planning Division, Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences