Minister of Commerce and Trade, Senator Haynesley Benn

Co-operatives stand to benefit from incentives offered in this year’s Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals.

This was pointed out by Minister of Commerce and Trade, Senator Haynesley Benn, as he addressed participants at the Strategic Planning Workshop of Non-Financial Co-operatives today.?? The session was held at the Co-operatives Department, Hincks Street, Bridgetown.

Senator Benn remarked that the agricultural sector, in particular, would see returns, as "these incentives will benefit agricultural co-operatives, and I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all stakeholders to reposition themselves to take full advantage of them…

"Members of the Pig Farmers Co-operative have a special opportunity to benefit from the $500 rebate that is being offered on every gilt that is raised to the breeding stage, and a 50 per cent rebate for the importation of livestock to enhance the breeds we currently have," Senator Benn explained.

He advised the participants to not only make the best of these opportunities, but to also use the initiative to create their own. He encouraged church groups and communities alike to get together and consider methods to ease the cost of living, from collectively raising animals for resale, to buying in bulk and benefitting from the savings.??

The Commerce Minister also spoke to the importance of teaching children the value of saving and cooperative efforts, while highlighting the need for this to be taught in schools.

Speaking to the development of the sector, the Minister observed that growth was necessary for co-operatives to survive.?? He acknowledged that this could translate into "recruiting new members, launching new products or activities, or simply taking your current activities to the next level…

"Just remember that co-operatives are a different kind of business and their values and principles provide a competitive difference that can feed their success," he noted; adding that whereas gains to one person usually meant a loss for another, the co-operative model sought to redress this imbalance.

The United Nations declared 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives, with International Co-operative Day to be celebrated on Saturday, July 7.


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