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Strengthening the Agro-Cooperatives entrepreneurship through implementing an effective Production-Marketing model, Palestine

Palestine, the area in the Middle East under partial Israeli administration, faces difficulties in gaining economic independence. Local cooperative movement, focused mainly on rural areas of the West Bank, has a low functionality and lack of influence, which is a result of both external conditions and indigenous culture. Agricultural products are cultivated on a small scale with low quality, and inefficient growing methods. At the same time standard of living of the members of cooperative and their families is dependent on conducted crops and cattle. Improving the quality of agricultural production and creating channels for its profitable sales can become a key element in development, affecting both the standard of living of hundreds of rural families, and the development of the entire Palestinian market.

The project is an extension of the activities conducted in Palestine in 2014 that were focused on the creation of a cooperative model of agribusiness for women in Al-Jalama, Jenin district (PPR2014/0081/NGO) funded from the resources of the program of development cooperation “Polish Aid”.

Strengthening the Agro-Cooperatives entrepreneurship through implementing an effective Production-Marketing model, Palestine

The project was implemented from 1 March to 31 December 2015 in the West Bank of Palestine. The actions included 4 agricultural cooperatives for which channels of integrated sales will be created by incorporating 4 sales cooperatives and 3 supermarkets of different locations (north, south, central Palestine). The project was also intended to conduct an initiative informing Polish society about the products of the cooperative.

The Contractor of the project was the Polish Centre for International Aid (PCPM), and the local partner - the Institute for Applied Social Research (ARIJ) in Palestine.

The direct objective of the project was to build an effective model of business affiliation of agricultural cooperatives, sales and markets based on the principles of quality, food safety and healthy marketing. The purpose of the project consisted of partial independence of the cooperative support from donors and the transition to self-sustaining growth model based on market mechanisms. The important factor was the use of the assets of collective work and functional-productive differentiation of cooperative.

Direct beneficiaries of the project were 400 rural families in Palestine, whose income and standard of living increased as a result of the project. Through the system of vocational and motivational trainings the project aimed to support entrepreneurship and market opportunities of cooperative workers, where a significant percentage of it constitute women. The indirect result of the project will be the development of the Palestinian economy, providing domestic and foreign consumer access to locally manufactured products.

The project’s aim is the implementation of the 9th priority – small and medium-sized enterprises and creation of new jobs.

Strengthening the Agro-Cooperatives entrepreneurship through implementing an effective Production-Marketing model, Palestine

The project was implemented between 1 March and 31 December 2015. It set up a group of business-related entities: 4 production cooperatives, 4 marketing cooperatives and 3 supermarkets, which operate together under their own unique brand, MAWASEM.

The project involved: 8 thematic workshops on farming technologies, production quality, marketing, organisation management, and the awareness of cooperative values; the acquisition of equipment to improve cooperative production/sales effectiveness; measures to build up the MAWASEM brand; and a campaign to promote its products.

The project has led to better operation under one brand of the cooperative entities that participated in the project, based on clearly defined rules on how the brand ought to function. The beneficiaries have recorded better sales which in turn has generated more income for their families and improved their standard of living.

The system that has been created raised the importance of fair trade, honest sales and business links among the participants and has made it possible to introduce the idea of social responsibility. The delivered model of effective cooperative entrepreneurship also had an impact on others, as evidenced by a meeting of prospective stakeholders who wanted to join the group.

The Polish public has also been informed about Palestine’s emergent cooperative entrepreneurship through a street exhibition and press articles. Goods continued to be imported into Poland.