Business planning workshop for Oil Palm Smallholders Cooperatives in the South West Region, Cameroon
Kumba, Vianello Hotel, 18th – 20th April 2018
Context and Justification:
Oil palm Smallholders in Cameroon with less than 5 ha of oil palm represent more than 75% of oil palm growers in Cameroon. Though they occupy a large percentage of oil palm producers, they face a lot of challenges such as; lack of access to good quality seedlings, little inputs, cultivate crops between juvenile palms and destruction of their crops by rodents. As a result, the returns to small holdings are quite low. To curb some of these challenges, the government of Cameroon has engaged in developing a strategy for sustainable palm oil. One of the major ways the government is developing this strategy is by promoting the small holder scheme without overlooking the lessons learnt from the failure of the FONADER scheme. Based on this, the Environmental Governance Institute (EGI) with support from WWF begun the process of structuring and organizing smallholders into oil palm cooperatives. The objective behind the structuring and organization process is to enable the smallholders take advantage of the new broad perspective being tailored by Government and to optimize their benefits in their collaboration with agro-industries. One of the major reasons for EGI to engage in structuring smallholders into cooperatives is largely because cooperative not only place at their centre the human need and profit for its members, cooperative could become builders of sustainability by pursuing the convergence between economic, social and environmental interests. There are examples where cooperatives have contributed to the management of natural resources mainly by providing a platform for local people to get involved in finding solutions to environmental change by defining their property and user rights, managing natural resources, and diversifying their economic activities to embrace green economic ventures.
EGI has already facilitated the creation of six oil palm cooperatives in the South West region. To ensure sustainability and increase in productivity of these small holders cooperatives, the capacity of these cooperatives are being built. In 2016, EGI and WWF organised a training workshop where these Cooperatives where trained on aspects of governance, management, record keeping and benefit sharing. This training ended with a follow up activity where each cooperative had to produce an action plan for the year. In this same light, EGI and WWF organised another workshop on Business planning from 18th to 21st April in Kumba. The main idea behind this workshop was to enable small holders to consider their farms as a business unit where they can draw up long, middle and short term goals and hence enable them to increase their profit margin.
The overall objective of this workshop was to build the capacity of oil palm smallholders on aspects of Business planning to ensure that cooperatives become an acknowledged leader in economic, social and environmental sustainability in palm oil production in Cameroon.
1. Raise the awareness of small holder cooperatives on the importance of business planning
2. Train Small holder Cooperatives on business planning models and how to develop to a business plan
3. Create a platform to enable exchange of ideas/information for the different cooperatives, experience sharing and lessons learnt
After this workshop
1. The Small holder Cooperatives were aware of the importance of business planning for the sustainability and increase productivity of their farms.
2. Small holder Cooperatives were trained on various business planning models and were able to develop a draft business plan for their various cooperatives.
3. An informal platform to facilitate exchange between the cooperatives established