Mpumalanga Farmers to Register a Co-operative Bank
COFISA has been appointed by the African Farmers Association of South Africa (AFASA) to assist farmers in Mpumalanga to register a Co-operatives Bank. To date Mpumalanga farmers have registered a co-operative financial institution known as Mpumalanga Farmers Financial Services Co-operative which has a membership of about 300 members.
Co-operative financial institutions as a concept have been in existence in South Africa for a number of years either as credit unions, “stokvels,” savings and credit co-operatives (CFIs) and Financial Services Co-operatives (FSCs). The Co-operative Banks Act of 2007 has allowed institutions established around a common bond to take deposits in order to improve the socio-economic welfare of its members. This legislation can be used to create a co-operative bank for members of financial co-operatives and other types of co-operatives. Co-operative Financial Institutions have proven to be one of the most effective and sustainable methods of combating harsh inequality. By providing opportunities for easy accesses to financial services including savings and easy access to loans for productive and provident purposes, the financial co-operatives contribute to a holistic process of social, economic, political, and cultural development. The guiding values and principles of co-operatives produce organizational structures that empower its members and contribute to a democratic distribution of resources.
It is for that reason that the Mpumalanga branch of the African Farmers Association of South Africa (AFASA) working with the Department of Agriculture; Rural Development and Land (DARDLA) and other stakeholders in the Province took a decision to establish a Co-operative financial institution which will be strong, sustainable and autonomous to assist farmers in the province to have access to financial services.
Mpumalanga Farmers Financial Services Co-operative will have branches in all local municipalities in Mpumalanga Province.