One of life’s essential truths which mankind tends to forget is that without cooperation we would be hungry, naked and cold. Cooperation either traditional or commercial plays a vital role in our daily lives as it is found in every corner of the industries. Cooperation is the foundation of any developing economy and Lesotho needs to ensure that there is a healthy cooperative movement because cooperatives have potential to contribute to the country’s GDP regardless of the economy’s situation.
However, the strength of cooperative movement relies on smart cooperative legislation, training and personnel. In this regard the government of Lesotho has committed itself in promoting cooperative training and education at various levels. The government efforts include an establishment of Lesotho Cooperative College in order to train cooperative experts, sponsorship for degree program in Tanzania at Moshi Cooperative University for professionals to mention but just a few. However, the cooperative movement is currently undergoing restructuring. It is anticipated that culmination of this process with ongoing policy development, will be a revitalised co-operative movement that will contribute to the growth and development of communities. Despite the significant government initiative to support cooperatives through legislation, several researchers have reported that 55% registered cooperatives in Lesotho are not viable. This frustrates the vision 2020 strategic plan which indicates that good performance of cooperative societies will help the nation to have access to financial services and food security. In order for the cooperatives to be able to act as effective development intermediaries for the poor and middle class, they need to achieve high performance. It is therefore important to write about factors influencing performance of cooperative societies in Lesotho and come up with important recommendations that will benefit cooperative members.
Our responsibility as cooperative professionals is to assist the government to achieve its goal by providing effective and appropriate cooperative education, training and information for Basotho and this section will therefore be written to serve this purpose.
The main objective of this section is to provide an understanding of cooperative theories and practices, contribution of key actors in cooperative sector and opportunities for cooperators. It will be written using local examples which can be easily understood by cooperators and learners. The aspiration of the writer of this section is in striving to share a word that communicates the idea of tuning experiences and knowledge gained in learning, research and doing cooperative consultancy activities. History has taught us about the importance of sharing experiences and knowledge through writing that tells readers exactly what they need to know. The writer will therefore concentrate on useful cooperative history, current status of cooperatives and their future trends in the next publications.
This section will help those who are already cooperative members and those who are willing to join cooperatives. It will help our policy makers to gain more knowledge about key issues that need to be addressed when amending Cooperative Policy and Cooperative Societies Act. Staff of cooperative societies will also get useful techniques and tools of measuring their performance and implementing their by-laws.
Cooperative societies serve as avenues for input distribution. Through their nation-wide structures, they were supposed to develop strong and reliable arrangements for the distribution of food crops, fertilizers, agro-chemicals, credits, seeds, and seedlings. The most important reasons for cooperatives failure in Lesotho include the shortage of trained managers, lack of understanding of the principles and approaches of cooperatives and inability of cooperative members to cope with the modern methods and tools of production. This section will therefore try to come up with suggestions that will be used in order to address these challenges facing cooperatives.