THE initiative by the government to revive cooperative unions is meant to increase productivity and secure reliable non-exploitative markets for farming communities.
Addressing the nation at the climax of Nane Nane celebrations here yesterday, the Vice- President Dr Mohammed Gharib Bilal said embezzlement of cooperative union funds has caused negative multiplier effects.
"Swindlers should not be tolerated. Regular and indepth auditing of accounts ought to be maintained and any discovered discrepancy should be addressed accordingly.
The government has a long plan to ensure sustainability of cooperative unions," Dr Bilal explained.
He added that according to the amended Cooperative Union Act that came to effect in January this year, establishment of more than one cooperative union in one particular area is now allowed to increase efficiency. "Cooperative union paves way for economic liberty.
It is the most effective approach to strengthen productivity and the subsequent contribution to the country's economic prosperity. Let's build our nation for big results now," he insisted.
Commenting on the significance of Nane Nane exhibitions, Mr Bilal said the event also catered for demonstration farms, whereby participants and visitors learn a lot in terms of technological advancement in the agricultural production process.
The Vice-President said he had personally learnt a lot from lessons given as he visited the pavilions at Ngongo grounds, insisting that people learn about the importance of cross pollination for better crops.
"There are open chances to increase agricultural productivity, improve skills for added value of products and access to reliable markets that offer prices corresponding to the international markets," he elaborated.
As for the application of warehouse receipt scheme, Dr Bilal spoke about the recorded success whereby better prices were being offered to farmers, as opposed to the previous situation that allowed an upper hand among traders who dictated crop prices for personal gains.
Earlier, the minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Eng. Christopher Chiza said agriculture is both employment and business.
This year's slogan for Nane Nane celebrations is 'Agriculture is Business'. "Nane Nane exhibitions offer the opportunity to share technological development in the sector.
The objective is to strengthen the infrastructure for sustainable production of high quality products," he insisted.