Haitian Cocoa Cooperative to Receive Recovery Assistance from NCBA and ICA
Two years after a devastating earthquake rocked Haiti, one cooperative organization is receiving support through a program funded by cooperatives around the globe. Several natural disasters, including the January 2010 earthquake, have dramatically affected Haiti’s agricultural production, which contributes 25 percent of gross domestic product in the country. The program will provide post-disaster business support to the Federation of Cocoa Cooperatives in Northern Haiti (FECCANO).
The program, funded through an agreement between the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) and NCBA, provides $298,143 to support Federation members affected by a steady decline in on-farm productivity and increasing isolation and lack of access to financial resources. This 18-month program will bring long-term benefits to the 2,500 members of the Federation and their families—an estimated total of some 10,000 people. The program is one of two funded by ICA to support the long-term recovery of cooperatives in Haiti.
“The global cooperative community began donating funds to support Haitian cooperatives immediately after the devastating 2010 earthquake,” said Charles Gould, director-general of the ICA. “Almost $600,000 was donated to the ICA’s appeal. The ICA Board determined that supporting long-term agricultural recovery that emphasizes business and cooperative management will bring sustainable benefits to the Federation and its members.
Through technical and business assistance, the National Cooperative Business Association’s CLUSA International program will assist FECCANO in improving its cocoa processing capacity, strengthening its governance and management capacity and establishing relationships with similar cooperative organizations.
“Cocoa remains a high-value and high-potential crop that can make a significant contribution to the lives and livelihoods of the members of the Federation of Cocoa Cooperatives and their families,” said Amy Coughenour Betancourt, vice president of the CLUSA International program. “Especially in the International Year of Cooperatives, this program demonstrates the solidarity of the international cooperative community in rallying to provide business and technical assistance to support long-term recovery of the Federation,” she continued.
The United Nations has designated 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives because of the social and economic benefits cooperatives provide to communities. Cooperatives are values-based, businesses owned and controlled by those that use the cooperative’s services. Cooperatives are a major economic force in developed countries and a powerful business model in developing ones. Worldwide, over 1 billion people are members of cooperatives. The economic activity of the largest 300 cooperatives in the world equals the 9th largest national economy.