Government is setting up a fully-fledged Department of Cooperatives which will be under the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
The move comes after a four-member delegation which recently visited Kenya returned home last Friday to learn how cooperatives have changed lives of Kenyan farmers.
Figures show that Kenya is ranked number one in Africa and number seven in the world in terms of cooperatives development.
Ministry of Industry and Trade Principal Secretary Cliff Chiunda, in an interview on Sunday, confirmed having travelled to Kenya to appreciate how cooperatives, if well organised, can trnaform the lives of rural people.
“We have embarked on functional review to introduce a fully-fledged department on cooperatives in our ministry. Our trip to Kenya was part of the same programme because Kenya is doing quite well on cooperatives and results are there for all to see,” he said.
Chiunda said most of the high rise buildings in Nairobi, the capital city, are owned by cooperatives and Malawian farmers can achieve the same if they are organised.
“One cooperative has assets worth over 6 billion shillings and it has tentacles spread in several areas, including animal and crop husbandry and banking,” he said.
Indigenous Businesses Association of Malawi (Ibam) president Mike Mlombwa has commended government for the initiative, saying local entrepreneurs as well as farmers if properly supported can contribute massively to economic development.
“This is a good move, and as Ibam, we will give it our support because small-scale businesses, including farmers if well supported can transform the economy of the country,” he said. n