Fiji cooperatives thrive with $151m in assets

June 18, 2024 12:33 pm

[Source: Ministry of Trade, Co-operatives, SMEs and Communications/ Facebook]

Fiji’s cooperative sector continues to thrive, boasting $151 million in assets and generating $2.5 million in profits from a revenue of $26 million.

This financial performance was highlighted by Permanent Secretary for Trade, Co-Operatives, and Small and Medium Enterprises, Shaheen Ali, during the opening of the UNDESA Capacity Building Workshop in Nadi.

Ali emphasizes the enduring significance of the cooperative movement in Fiji’s economic landscape, dating back to the 1940s.

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[Permanent Secretary for Trade, Co-Operatives, and Small and Medium Enterprises, Shaheen Ali]

He says that over the decades, the cooperative sector has experienced numerous fluctuations but remains a vital component of the nation’s economy.

According to Ali, Fiji has 615 operating cooperatives spread across 15 diverse sectors, encompassing over 35,000 members.

“The demand for cooperative forms of business has also increased in all four of our divisions. In a typical month, an average of 60 cooperative awareness sessions are conducted by the Department of Cooperative Business, resulting in an average of 15 cooperative registrations per month. This has doubled from the previous year.”

He attributes the robustness of the cooperative movement to its inclusive and sustainable business model, which has gained recognition across all sectors of the economy.

Ali says the cooperative model is particularly prevalent in key industries such as agriculture, sugar, fisheries, and forestry.

Additionally, it has become integral to the development programs of various ministries focused on women, youth, and rural development.

He adds that the principles and values of cooperatives, such as collective responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, and solidarity, align with the Fijian cultural values “Solesolevaki,” which emphasize community effort and collective well-being.