A GROUP of Gulf province resource owners have set up a cooperative society to manage the economic use of natural resources in their area.
Toaripi Association of Cooperative Societies is funded by the Gulf Economic Development Authority and is made up of 27 villages with 24 corporate societies.
The association aims to improve the lives of people by tapping into natural resources such as marine products, agriculture, livestock and cash crops.
Association chairman Hicks Mereke said: “There are many resources like coconut, sago and fish but we need to utilise these resources to generate income for the people.
“Many fishing companies from outside have come and are fishing beyond their limit while the locals did nothing about it economically. They only collect to consume.”
Mr Mereke said the association would act as the market agent for the people to sell their harvest to outside markets and people would have income and there would be opportunities to invest in big projects under the association.
Ten men will be attending a week’s course in Lalavaipi-Malalaua starting on Saturday to get their certificate in bookkeeping and they will look after the 24 cooperative societies.
The 24 cooperatives will each get K5,000 from a K12,000 donation by Gulf Governor Havila Kavo.
The association has appealed to donor agencies for help. Mr Mereke can be contacted on 710 49465.