EGI has now completed the process of organizing smallholder farmers in Nguti Sub-Division and around the SGSOC Concession to form a Cooperative Society, Nguti Area Oil Palm Farmers’ Cooperative (NGAPAF-COOP-BOD).
The structuring process started in December 2015 with a 2-day consultation meeting; 22-23 December 2015, aimed at discussing the implications of the oil palm sector for conservation, as well as the problems faced by smallholder oil palm farmers in Nguti Area.
The Executive Director of EGI, John Takang, opened the meeting by explaining EGI’s interest in supporting smallholder farmers in the oil palm sector. To him, it is important for smallholder farmers to organize themselves into some structured form in order that they could optimize their benefits and hence curb expansion of their plantations, which in turn leads to clearing of forested lands.
He noted that the essence of this preliminary meeting was to appreciate the level of organization of smallholder oil palm farmers and to hatch out a way forward for improved organization.
The meeting was also intended to obtain the views of leaders of smallholder groups concerning the challenges they faced and their expectations and fears vis-a-vis the idea of an organized form.
Smallholder farmers of oil palms in the wider Nguti area agreed that organizing themselves into a Cooperative Society will enable them to maximize profits from their farms among other benefits.
Therefore, from 9-11 MArch 2016, EGI oversaw the elections of Delegates in the Five Zones covered by the proposed Cooperative, namely, Nguti, Ntale, Mungo-ndor, Babensi and Manyemen Sections.
On 24 and 25th of March 2016, the EGI field team returned to Nguti for a 2-day workshop aimed at training Delegates from the five Zones/Sections, to officially form the Cooperative and to conduct the elections of the Board of Directors.
Facilitated by EGI’s Executive Director, Day 1 of the workshop explored the structure of a Cooperative Society as per the OHADA Uniform Act, i.e. Board of Directors, Supervisory Committee, etc. and their respective functions. Day 2 of the Workshop was set aside for the elections proper. Folowwing a strict and transparent procedure, Mr Ewub Belle Boniface from Nguti Zone was elected Board Chairman while Mr. Ashu Andre Tarang was elected Board Vice Chairman.
The nascent Cooperative Society was baptized Nguti Area Oil Palm Farmers’ Cooperative (NGAPAF-COOP-BOD), with Headquarters in Nguti.