Cooperative societies to boost Bougainville economic growth

The National,Tuesday July 5th, 2016

COOPERATIVE societies are the way forward to elevate subsistence to commercial farming to improve the standard of living and boost economic growth in Bougainville.
Minister for Bougainville Affairs and Regional MP Joe Lera said during the launching of Outongi Cooperatives’ Business Plan 2016 to 2020 that the cooperative society concept was not new as it was introduced and practised in the 1950s and 1960s but later died out.
He said the cooperatives model has proven successful in many countries in Europe, North and South America and Asia.
“As a leader of Bougainville I encourage and appeal to subsistence farmers and the people to start organising themselves into cooperatives to benefit, access and have more control over commercial opportunities,” Lera said.
He said for Bougainville to establish cooperative groups and associations to reach international standards would be a great challenge but he was determined that with the support from the Government, private sector and the people, that can be achieved.
Outongi cooperative society business plan’s vision is “improved human wellbeing” and it mission statement “creating a middle income society.”
The cooperative will focus on cocoa with the main object to promote economic, social and cultural interests while at the same time serve political interests of its members.
The cooperative plans to link itself to the government’s cooperative moment through small and medium enterprises being supported, promoted and advocated by the national and Bougainville governments.
Lera said he supported the business plan as it was in line with his vision “to develop people and build a nation.”
Lera is calling on other existing cooperatives in Bougainville to also develop their five year plans.