National consultation workshop on Start.Coop in Cambodia

A national consultation workshop on ILO’s Start.Coop training tool was organized with over 64 officials from the government and civil society organizations that support the development of agricultural cooperatives.

News | 30 August 2019
The training workshop titled “Start.Coop: Business Plan Management and Market Linkages of Agricultural Cooperatives” was organized by the Department of Agricultural Cooperative Promotion (DACP) of Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) on 26 and 27 August 2019 in Svay Rieng province of Cambodia near the border with Vietnam. This training is part of the activities of the project “Cooperatives to Strengthen Youth Empowerment” implemented under the ILO/Japan Fund for Building Social Safety Nets in Asia and the Pacific (SSN Fund) supported by the Government of Japan.

Start.Coop is a training tool recently developed by the ILO to provide a step-by-step guide to launch a cooperative in a participatory and effective manner. It constitutes the second component of Our.Coop, an ILO’s training package designed to support workers and entrepreneurs, especially those in the informal economy in rural and urban areas, to increase economic opportunities through cooperation.

The Start.Coop workshop was organized following the positive results of the first national consultation workshop and provincial pilots in late 2018 on Think.Coop , an orientation tool on the cooperative business model, constituting the first component of Our.Coop family of tools.

The training workshop brought together 64 officials of MAFF/DACP and civil society organizations working on agricultural cooperatives from 25 provinces. Based on the needs assessment of agricultural cooperative members, DACP decided to use the third module of Start.Coop on developing a business plan. Participants gained knowledge and insights on the business plan structure, business records, budget management, scheduling of business activities. They also appreciated mutual learning and sharing of knowledge and experience on business and cooperatives among themselves.

Mr. Chea Saintdona, Director of DACP
In his closing remarks, Mr. Chea Saintdona, Director of DACP, highlighted the dynamism of the training activities and encouraged participants to implement Think.Coop and Start.Coop training in their provinces. He also mentioned the significance of agricultural cooperatives in creating market linkages and boosting local economic development, and that MAFF and development partners had expressed interest in supporting agricultural cooperatives.

Think.Coop and Start.Coop are scheduled for wider implementation at provincial and national levels in 2020 . Manage.Coop, the third and the last component of Our.Coop family of tools, will be ready for implementation in mid-2020.

In Cambodia, there are 1,116 agricultural cooperatives with 130,059 members. MAFF plans to create secondary and tertiary unions and federations of agricultural cooperatives and encourage youth representation in them.