Assessment of Effectiveness of Producer Organizations in Meghalaya State, India
Navin T, Dr. Rajendra Singh Gautam, Sanjeev Kumar
Institute of Livelihood Research and Training
The State of Meghalaya, India, though the wettest State in the country, comes with its own unique challenges all the way from very difficult terrains to unwillingness of external agencies to work here. To add to this, Meghalaya has the highest forest cover which stands at 77 per cent in the country, but there is a serious problem when it comes to the quality of forest cover. Out of the 77 per cent forest cover in Meghalaya, only two per cent is very-dense-forest and forty five per cent is moderate-forest, while the rest falls under the category of open-forest which is hardly a forest. According to the Planning Commission there has hardly been any decline in rural poverty in Meghalaya in the last two decades, which has hovered around 40% since 1983, though for the country as a whole rural poverty has declined from 45.7 to 27.1 per cent between 1983 and 1999.
The State has about 1,500 cooperatives who play a crucial role in the livelihoods of rural producers and are engaged in Agriculture, Horticulture, Agri-allied activities, Handloom and Handicrafts. Effectiveness, efficiency of Cooperatives have an important role in creating livelihood impact among rural producers. The assessment study of cooperatives in Meghalaya, commissioned jointly by IFAD, India and the VCB-Network, throws light on the current status of the state of cooperatives. It undertook assessment based on important parameters such as governance, business operations, internal management systems, member participation, collaboration and benefits for members.
While being appreciative of their role, it was found that in governance aspects such as rotation of leadership, differentiation of responsibilities between management and Board and constitution of multiple committees to undertake responsibilities has a scope of improvement. System of designing Business operations around a revenue generation model with regular planning need to be mainstreamed. Proper documentation on operations, meetings and decisions were to be improved that can happen with some hand-holding and mentoring. Hiring of services from professional staff needs to be an important consideration. The member participation of women and youth in the Annual General Meetings (AGMs) need to become the key in the success of these collectives. The members were to be offered end to end services and the current services need to be streamlined. Partnership in value chain and marketing linkages were to be extended beyond the Government agencies. This approach can become the key to backward-forward linkages.
In the absence of services adequately benefiting the members, the most critical aspect happens to be the retention of member loyalty and willingness to transact through the cooperative. A need to work in the areas of governance and leadership, business development and marketing skills particularly in capacity building aspects; second related to accessing capital from mainstream financial market; and third related to accessing and utilizing advance technologies for production, processing and packaging purposes through cooperative department in collaboration with others needs to be strengthened. The need to build convergence with schemes such as line departments and schemes such as Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) and developing Commodity specific Value Chains is suggested.
The Study has been completed by researchers from the Institute of Livelihood Research and Training, India in 2018.
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