Department of Co-operatives operates under the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations. It derives its powers for the performance of its duties from the provisions of the Co-operative Societies Decree, 1968 (NLCD 252) and the Co-operative Societies Regulations (L.I. 604).
Smallholder farmers and other informal sector operators face diseconomies of scale in accessing input, credit, extension and market for their produce. Organizing these people into groups, therefore becomes a means of ensuring equity and cost-effective extension service delivery as well as access to other productive sources. Furthermore, this facilitates a process of empowering them to bargain in marketplaces and also enhance their capacity to influence decision that affect their livelihood. Group formation also facilitates an easy and less costly way of disseminating information on new technologies and farming practices that are technologically friendly.
The demand for group formation has increased tremendously in recent years with most projects implemented by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
The potential for employment creation in the formal sector has been on the decline over the last couple of decades. The informal sector offers great opportunities for employment generation, especially self-employment; and the Agricultural sector is potentially the largest sector for employment creation.
The past couple of decades have seen a gradual decline in operations of co-operatives and there has been an erosion of public confidence in them. Policy makers do not understand their effectiveness and appropriateness in solving the problems of rural people and have largely neglected them.
The Department of Co-operatives therefore has a big responsibility to revive interest in co-operatives as a means of accelerating agricultural production and rural development.
The Department of Co-operatives expects to see all Co-operatives operate as sustainable life-long and viable competitive business enterprise.
Its Mission is to facilitate the development of vibrant Co-operatives and other group Enterprises that are capable of contributing positively to sustainable employment generation, poverty reduction and community development through capacity building, Policy Implementation, Co-ordination, Monitoring, Evaluation and Regulation based on our belief in the effectiveness of group actions. The Department is further committed to being clients centered, efficient, professional and cost-effective in our service delivery.
The functions of the Department are categorized into three (3) areas.
1. Facilitatory / Regulatory Services:
This involves creating an enabling environment for the operation of Co-operatives and ensuring that, they comply with the provisions of the Co-operative Societies Decree 252 of 1968. Activities undertaken include: –
2. Advisory Services:
Department of Co-operatives facilities the formation of Co-operatives through: –
3. Provision of Social Services:
In the performance of its non-statutory duties, Department of Co-operatives does the following: