As Anambra joined the rest of the world to mark 2023 International Cooperative Day today (Saturday), the State Government through the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is currently seeking partnerships with the Cooperative societies operating in the state on food sufficiency.
Mr Christian Udechukwu, the State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, who disclosed this on Saturday at Ekwueme Square Awka, venue of this year’s celebration, said the partnership will help boost agricultural production for food sufficiency in the state and beyond.
The Commissioner noted that the State Governor, Charles Soludo is desirous of empowering the societies after the partnership, adding that the state government has already mapped out some funds to that effect, while it is expected to meet with all the representatives of the 20,000 Cooperative societies operating in the state for proper take off.
He said Anambra chose to mark the International Day of Cooperatives, celebrated annually worldwide as passed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1992.
In his words: “Anambra State is always the light of the Nation, the first of these events organised at Abuja in the year 2012 Anambra State took the best exhibitor. You can be active in your various primary societies and feel not recognized, this is an opportunity to show the world you are there.
“We will try as much as we can to make sure, SMEDAN, development finance department of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Bank of Agriculture are invited for active interaction and the Nigeria Export Promotion for those Cooperatives whose products need an export touch.
“Subject your activities to the supervision of our staff for the needed guidelines and articulation of your challenges in the course of carrying on your businesses. The Government will be there to assist where possible
“We commend young men and women who form themselves into cooperative farming and allied businesses and other productive ventures in the state.”
In their remarks, the Director of Cooperative Department of the Ministry, Mrs Nwabugo Okonkwo and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Commerce and Industry, Hon. Eloka Maduekwe, affirmed that the cooperative societies would benefit from the government’s plan partnership designed to move people out of poverty.
According to them, the celebration was a wake-up to the call for joint effort towards achieving grassroots development.
They announced that the event was meant to hold on July 1st, 2023 but due to some Government engagement at that period, it was shifted to today.
They then charged the cooperators to focus, cooperate and always work in unity for the good of themselves, their families, their communities, the state and the country at large.
On his part, the Acting Board Chairman of Anambra Cooperative Credit and Marketing Union (ACCMU), Mr. Evangaliza John-Fedelis Okeke, who spoke on behalf of others, lamented the lack of financial assistance from the state government.
Mr. Okeke appealed to the state government to assist them in the following areas; grants or constant patronage, training and re-training of members, encouragement, promotion and empowerment of vulnerable Cooperative societies in the State.
It was gathered that the theme for this year’s celebration is “Cooperatives: Partners for sustainable development”.