The cooperative sector has identified three main priorities, namely increase the local production and consumption of food and other goods, generate employment and wealth creation, to revamp itself and ensure the socioeconomic progress of Mauritius in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Minister of Industrial Development, SMEs and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah, was speaking at a brainstorming session, this morning, at the Bois Marchand. The session brought together representatives of cooperative federations to discuss the revamping process of the cooperatives sector to manage the Covid-19 economic impact.
The Minister recalled that the Covid-19 pandemic has engulfed the world into an unprecedented economic crisis, and it is crucial at this point to promote local production to the maximum. According to him, the cooperative sector has, over its 107 years of existence, considerably contributed to the socioeconomic progress of the country. The sector is now called upon to play a key role to boost the post-Covid 19 economy of Mauritius, he pointed out.
Over the last five years, Mr Bholah highlighted, Government has provided the necessary structure with the ideal conducive productive environment along with a series of measures to help the cooperative sector flourishes. He dwelt on some of the major measures including: the setting up of the Mauritius Cooperative Alliance, the promotion of organic farming, increasing the visibility of locally-manufactured products, increasing access to markets, and providing financial and technical support.
According to him, now that the cooperative sector with Governmental support has the necessary knowhow and expertise, it has to undertake its second phase of revamping and operation on a more competitive level with higher standards. He stressed that in order to create a more economically vibrant cooperative sector, there is a need to adopt modern techniques of production, work within a culture of innovation, and develop exportability.
Moreover, the Minister indicated that the revamping of the sector will also take into account the potential contribution of Rodrigues, particularly in animal farming. The island, he added, has a specific environment that favours animal farming and other agricultural crops, which the Government will further promote by providing thenecessary facilities.
The Minister observed that the cooperative sector has to learn from the Covid-19 crisis and tap into opportunities to spur a new business environment such as the e-commerce. He also indicated that his Ministry is considering the setting up of market outlets for Cooperatives to sell their products while ensuring that all consumers are able to buy fresh local products at reasonable prices.
Minister Bholah also announced that his Ministry is working on a new logo for the cooperative sector which will be used on all locally produced food and goods.