The Special Cover comprises a text on the International Year of Cooperatives, the history of the Cooperatives in the Republic of Mauritius as well as the values and principles of cooperation.
The Special Commemorative Cover on Cooperatives is an opportunity to give due recognition, during the International Year of Cooperatives 2012, to the contribution of cooperatives in the socio-economic development of Mauritius. The cover also carries the logo of the Year.
Based on the slogan of the Year, “Cooperative Enterprises Build a Better World”, the logo features seven persons working together to lift and support a cube. The cube represents the various project goals and aspirations upon which cooperative enterprises are built, and the achievements that can be attained. The seven gender-neutral figures represent the people factor central to the cooperative model and the seven principles of the cooperative movement.
In his address at the launching ceremony, the Minister of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives, Mr Jangbahadoorsing Seetaram, recalled the major achievements of his ministry. They are: the setting-up of a sales outlet in Port Louis by the Mauritius Women Entrepreneurs Cooperative Federation Ltd; issue of grants to cooperative federations; organization of courses by the National Institute for Cooperative Entrepreneurship for unemployed women and youth with a view to enhance capacity building in cooperatives and emergence of new cooperatives; and a three-day National Cooperative and SME Fair with the objective of enhancing the visibility of products of cooperatives and to establish contact with potential buyers.
Mr Seetaram also said that the ministry of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives will celebrate the centenary of the Mauritian Cooperative Movement in 2013 in collaboration with various stakeholders. “The celebration will be a platform for harnessing cooperative advantage and further sensitising the public, through the holding of cooperative fairs at regional and international levels; workshops on fair trade; workshops and seminars on cooperatives; and increased cooperation with friendly countries”, he said.
Workshop on Fair Trade
Concurrently with the launching of the Commemorative Cover, a workshop on Fair Trade was held at Domaine Les Pailles. The focus was on small planters of vegetables, fruits and flowers. Some 60 participants were briefed on the concept.
Fair Trade provides a model for trade development for small producer organisations. Its overall aim is to ensure that the small producers are able to obtain the maximum price for their products. Cooperatives have been contributing significantly to building a fairer world by promoting Fair Trade. It is estimated that 75% of Fair Trade producers are in cooperative societies. Cooperative values and principles also align themselves to those of Fair Trade.
The concept of Fair Trade has been successfully implemented in the sugar sector, where some 4 500 small cane planters of 32 Cooperative Credit Societies have benefited from a premium of US $60 per tonne of sugar sold.
Several projects have been implemented, namely mechanisation, subsidy of agro-inputs, computerisation, capacity building programmes, micro-financing, grants for purchase of equipments, community development programme, construction and renovation works and purchase of land. Around 150 small producers has been already sensitised on the concept during previous workshops held in Mauritius for pineapple growers and another one for honey producers in Rodrigues.