Barbadians are seeing the value of the co-operative business model, and there has been a steady growth in the number of non-financial co-operatives on the island.
This disclosure came from Minister of State in Foreign Trade and Business, Sandra Husbands, in a message to observe the 100th Anniversary of International Day of Co-operatives, which will be observed on Saturday, July 2.
In the message, Ms. Husbands stated: “Currently, the world is witnessing conflict, turmoil and uncertainty, which have not been experienced for several decades. It is in times like these that we need strong anchors and there is no stronger anchor than the co-operative movement.
“In Barbados, as more and more people recognise the strength to be had in pooling resources and working together, we have seen a steady growth in the number of non-financial cooperatives. However, what is even more pleasing is that a number of them are pursuing activities outside the traditional areas of transport and agriculture.”
While explaining this point, the Minister noted that in the area of construction, the Barbados Contractors and Artisans Co-operative Society Limited was assisting Government with the housing of citizens at Lancaster, St. James.
She added that the Co-operative Society Investment Fund Limited was partnering with stakeholders to help provide housing solutions and introduce digital financial services that would greatly assist the easy transaction of business.
“Renewable Energy Co-operatives, such as Ghona and the Barbados Sustainable Energy Co-operatives, are involved in renewable energy initiatives that will contribute to the country’s national drive to reduce our fossil fuel intake and move towards clean energy by 2030,” she pointed out.
Ms. Husbands stressed that Barbados has a strong co-operative movement, stating that there are 32 credit unions which serve 222,118 members and employ 562 persons.
She added that there are 34 non-financial co-operatives with a membership of approximately 1,400, and they employ about 100 people.
“Collectively, the co-operative movement has contributed to making Barbados a better place to live, as the co-operative business model has built economic, social and cultural relationships that have contributed to the alleviation of poverty, and augmented the standard of living for many humble Barbadians in a plethora of areas, including housing, travel, and access to vehicles.
“Additionally, it has created many opportunities for entrepreneurs operating within the micro, small and medium-sized sector, which has enabled them to feed, clothe and educate their loved ones,” the Minister surmised.
The theme of this year’s celebrations is: Co-operatives Build a Better World.