What you need to know:
Challenges. The Bill seeks to address similar problems that farmers in East Africa face.
Cooperative societies across East Africa will now collaborate on numerous fronts, including joint marketing, thanks to a regional Bill in offing.
According to Uganda Cooperative Alliance secretariat and the Eastern African farmers’ Federation, the drive to have both regional (EALA) legislation allow the collaboration and national cooperative laws amended, is in high gear.
In an interview with the Daily Monitor, Mr Mike Sebalu, the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) member and the brain behind the EAC Co-operative Societies Bill 2014 said by mid-year, the Bill will have been passed and assented to by all the regional heads of state.
“This Bill is demand driven. Farmers across the region have the same problems and this Bill is seeking to cure those challenges,” said Mr Sebalu.
The Bill will, among other roles provide for cooperative societies standards across board, address governance issues and provide a platform for sharing ideas and networking—including in marketing.
The Chief Executive of the Eastern African Farmers’ Federation, Mr Stephen Muchiri said the law will help build the capacity of the cooperatives members and strengthen the national laws governing the operation of the cooperatives.
The general secretary of Uganda Cooperative Alliance, Mr Leonard Msemakweli, said the move will not just enhance trade between the regional cooperatives but will also help them share knowledge on problems and how to deal with them.
The executive director of the Private Sector Foundation, Mr Gideon Badagawa, yesterday said although it is good to integrate the law across the member states, it would have been better for the respective cooperatives to first sort out individual problems, among others sort out governance issues before harmonising them at the regional levels.