Abuja — As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to commemorate the 99th International Cooperative Day, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammad Nanono, Saturday, felicitated and hailed Nigerian Cooperatives over the enormous contribution made to food security over the years.
Nanono congratulated members of cooperative societies across the country in a statement signed by him as they join over 1 billion cooperators belonging to 3 million cooperative societies across the world which also is the 27th United Nations, UN, International Day of Cooperatives to mark the day.
The International Cooperative Day is marked by cooperatives worldwide since 1923 and officially proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly on the centenary of the ICA in 1995, the International Day of Cooperatives has celebrated annually on the first Saturday of July.
Every 3 July, the International Day of Cooperatives (#CoopsDay) is being celebrated, and the 2021 edition which fell on Saturday, July 3 is with the theme, 'Rebuild Better Together', which Cooperatives around the world showcase how they are meeting the COVID-19 pandemic crisis with solidarity and resilience and offering communities a people-centered and environmentally just recovery.
#CoopsDay is about how a human-centered business model, sustained by the cooperative values of self-help and solidarity and the ethical values of social responsibility and concern for community, can reduce inequality, create shared prosperity and respond to the immediate impacts of COVID-19.
He said: "I wish to congratulate the over 1 billion cooperators belonging to 3 Million Cooperative Societies across the World on the special occasion of the 99th International Cooperative Day which also is the 27th UN International Day of Cooperatives.
"I particularly like to felicitate with the Nigerian Cooperative Movement, the African Region of the International Cooperative Alliance and the Global International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) on the International Cooperative Day that takes place on the first Saturday of the month of July every year.
"I am pleased to report that Nigerian Cooperatives have contributed significantly to the economic development of the country knowing fully well the immense contribution of the World Cooperative Movement to the socio-economic development of the world.
"Since the introduction of the cooperative model of development to Nigeria in 1927, by the colonial administration, Cooperative has gained wide acceptability. It catalyzed agricultural development, especially in the period between 1950 and early 1980s, where it contributed to increasing domestic agricultural production and scaling up export of agricultural produce. The revenue generated from export facilitated the provision of infrastructure and social development services.
"Currently, Nigerian cooperatives are actively involved in agricultural input sourcing and supply, agricultural produce marketing, micro insurance service, financial on-lending, road transportation, artisanal mining, value addition, rendering of strategic services and commerce."
However, he acknowledged and pointed out that Nigeria's challenges of unemployment, food production, inflation, poverty and unending insecurity have been compounded by the out break of Coronavirus pandemic, therefore making life tough for citizens.
"It is a general knowledge that while Nigeria was grappling with the multiple challenges of unemployment, food production, inflation, poverty and unending insecurity, COVID-19 pandemic came to inflict its debilitating blow on the socio-economic lives of Nigerians and indeed the other citizens of the world.
"The pandemic, still raging, is gradually being subdued. Nonetheless, the task of restoring, recovering and rebuilding the socio-economic fabric of the people has to be achieved albeit through national and international cooperation and collaboration of stakeholders including cooperatives.
"It is the important realization that Cooperatives, with their unique identity of people-centred principles and concern for the community that the theme of this year's International Day of Cooperative celebration 'Rebuilding Better Together' is very apt.
"I wish to implore the Nigerian and world Cooperative Movements to assiduously "work the talk" by cooperating among themselves and with other organizations and people to develop and implement strategies and projects that will lead to the rebuilding of the economies and social systems of citizens damaged by the pandemic and other devastating factors", he added.
Meanwhile, the Minister assured that, "The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development through the Federal Department of Cooperatives will cooperate, collaborate and support Cooperative Movements and similar International organizations in achieving their set development objectives of advancing people's livelihood and restoring their normal ways of lives.
"Finally, I congratulate the President of the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA), Mr. Airel Guarco, the President of the African Region of the ICA, Mr. Japheth Magomere, the Regional Director, Dr. Chiyoga, B. Sifa, and very importantly, the Leader of the Nigeria Cooperative Movement and President of the Cooperative Federation of Nigeria, High Chief Tajudeen Ayeola on today's historic occasion.
"On this note, I wish the Cooperative Movement in Nigeria and across the World very happy and enjoyable International Day of Cooperatives celebrations."
Vanguard News Nigeria