The organisation of the farming model is an essential element for the future of the cocoa network. There are approximately 2,000 cooperatives in Ivory Coast and not all of them are professionally organised. PACTS works with 32 cooperatives and cooperative groups.
The PACTS programme is associated with Rabobank for the creation of support programmes for the cooperatives with the aim to help them better structure themselves.
Interview with Wim Verzijlenberg, Senior Project Manager Agribusiness and Cooperative Development at Rabobank:
1. What is an efficient cooperative for you?
An efficient cooperative is a private business managed by the farmers. They are principally economic, non-social or non-political-social entities. Their main objective is to increase their members’ incomes.
2. What are the key elements to the success of a cooperative?
A cooperative must:
• Define precise objectives
• Create a transparent management system
• Create funding and “zero loss” policies
• Communicate with their members
3. In your opinion what are the majority of Ivorian cooperatives lacking in?
Member commitment is the most common element missing from the majority of cooperatives. They consider their cooperative as an additional intermediary. Many have not even been created by farmers.
It is necessary to improve managing methods, transparency, funding policies and communication within the cooperatives. This is the only way to build strong and long-term cooperatives.
4. You have agreed to support two cooperatives that are part of the PACTS programme, how do you plan to help them?
La Fondation Rabobank collaborates with PACTS to assist partner cooperatives in the programme. Rabo International Advisory Services (RIAS) BV mission is to assess the current Ivorian cooperatives’ situations and to propose solutions.
5. What are the results of this assessment?
The conclusions of this study allowed us to evaluate the criteria necessary for the optimal functioning of a cooperative and create a standard cooperative model in Ivory Coast.