Thursday, July 16, 2015

90th Anniversary of the Cooperative Movement in Rodrigues (1924-2014)

The Mauritius Post released on 8 August 2014 a Special Commemorative Cover to mark the 90th anniversary of the cooperative movement in Rodrigues.

On 8 August 1924, Rodrigues witnessed the registration of the first cooperative society known as the Trèfles Cooperative Credit Society Ltd.

From statistics available as at June 2013, 70 cooperative societies were registered  in Rodrigues. The number of members of cooperative societies has reached the figure of 10,598. The percentage of the Rodriguan population grouped in cooperatives is around 25%. Altogether the cooperative sector in Rodrigues has a turnover of Rs 157M.

At the end of the 1950s, a Consumer Cooperative Store Society was set up in Port Mathurin to provide for a wide range of domestic commodities at competitive prices to its members.

Thereafter, in the early 1960s, a group of inhabitants of Saint Gabriel formed the Saint Gabriel Cooperative Stores Society Ltd. The Mauritius Consumers Cooperative Federation Ltd. was entrusted with the management of the Saint Gabriel Cooperative Stores Society Ltd. in 2007.

In 1967, the Rodrigues Agricultural Production and Marketing Cooperative Society (RAPMCS) was registered. Since its inception, it acted as the Agent of the Agricultural Marketing Board for the purchase of onions and garlics from planters of the island and shipped the produce to Mauritius.

Afterwards, in the early 1970s, five Regional Agricultural Credit and Marketing Cooperative Societies were established to decentralise the activities of the RAPMCS. In 1992, the Rodrigues Agricultural Marketing and Cooperative Federation Ltd. (RAMCF) was formed by the Regional Agricultural and Marketing Cooperative Societies to replace the RAMPCS.

Five Livestock Cooperative Societies joined to form the 'Fédération des Associations Coopératives des Eleveurs de Rodrigues Ltée.' (FACER - Federation of Cooperative Associations of Farmers of Rodrigues Ltd.). It operates at the 'Maison des Eleveurs et Agriculteurs' (Farmers' House) since its registration in 1987 and runs five distribution centres for the sale of animal feed, veterinary supply and so on. Equally, it coordinates the marketing of live animals for export to Mauritius.

The Rodrigues Fishermen's Cooperative Society Ltd. was the first fishermen's cooperative society established in the 1970s.

In 1985, six Large Net Fishermen's Cooperative societies joined to set up the Rodrigues Fishermen's Cooperative Federation Ltd. which was entrusted with the management of the 'Maison des Pêcheurs' (Fishermen's House). With a view to embarking on off-lagoon fishing, five new fishermen cooperative societies were registered in 2009.

The first food-processing cooperative society in Rodrigues was set up in 1996. Presently, there are seven food-processing and marketing cooperative societies in Rodrigues. They have been formed mainly by women entrepreneurs. A Cooperative Federation for Agro food-processing has also been registered on 26 August 2013 under the appellation of 'AGROD Cooperative Federation Ltd.'

The Cooperative Credit Societies have been a great pillar of the small economy of the island. They have enabled their members (mainly farmers) to mobilise savings from which loans at a reasonable rate were granted for crops cultivation and animal rearing. These cooperatives have contributed significantly towards the improvement of the standard of living of many Rodriguans.

The financial sector comprises four Cooperative Credit Unions, namely: the Rodrigues Northern, United Development, Nassola and Rodrigues Women as well as the 'Association Coopérative des Caisses Villageoises Lévé Débouté de Rodrigues' (Cooperative Association of Get Up Stand Up Villagers' Funds of Rodrigues). The latter has more than 60 branches throughout Rodrigues.

The members obtain financial support from these societies by way of loans at reasonable rate of interest for provident and productive purposes.

The agricultural sector in Rodrigues has been very prominent in the cooperatives sector. It is expected that with time other sectors, namely the food-processing and the tourism sectors, which are already predominant in Rodrigues, would bring their share.

N.B.: The above text is from the SCC insert.

Technical Details

Release date: 8 August 2014
Stamp: Rs11 - 250th Anniversary of the Observation of the Transit of Venus from Rodrigues (1761-2011)
             From the 'International Commemorative Events' issue of 8 September 2011.

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