Former Mayor of Fernie Cindy Corrigan travelled to Uganda recently as part of a group learning about how a co-op movement amongst the farmers in the war-torn country has been working.
Corrigan, who is a director at the East Kootenay Credit Union, and several other volunteers from other credit unions and Canadian co-operatives, travelled to several credit unions to discuss the concept and see how well it has been implemented so far.
The idea of the co-op is that the small quantities of produce each farmer grows is “bulked” together, or combined with other farmers’ produce, which is then a large enough quantity to market and sell.
“In terms of agriculture, research shows that small farmers acting alone tend not to benefit when food prices rise but those acting collectively in strong producer organizations and co-operatives are better able to take advantage of market opportunities,” said Corrigan.
“It’s a chance to grow the economy and means the farmers might be able to build a brick house to live in, and send their children to private school, their only hope for a proper education.”
The Canadian Co-operative Association’s (CCA) international development mission is to establish and grow co-operatives, credit unions and community based organizations to reduce poverty, build sustainable livelihoods and improve civil society in less developed countries.
Corrigan will be giving a number of presentations in Fernie over the next few months to anyone interested in finding out more about the co-op movement.
For more information about the co-op movement, visit www.coopscanada.coop