UKZN AND PEACE FOUNDATION TRUST HOST US STUDENTS

UKZN AND PEACE FOUNDATION TRUST HOST US STUDENTS

A group of MBA students from the University of California in the United States presented their impressions on South Africa’s agricultural co-operatives at an interactive forum hosted by the School of Management, Information Systems and Governance recently.

The event, organised by UKZN academic and a Trustee for the PEACE Foundation Trust, Ms Malindi Kunene, was attended, among others, by the chairperson of the South African Women Entrepreneurs Network, Ms Vuyelwa Xaba, as well as Inkosi Sbonelo Mkhize of the Abambo Traditional Council.

First year Berkeley business students, Mr Roy Fujimoto, Ms Amanda Hat, Mr Diego Otarola and Ms Augustina Sacerdote, were on a three-week visit to South Africa working on the development of a model for second tier co-operatives suitable for the South African environment. They worked in co-operation with the PEACE Foundation Trust, an NGO whose main goal is the creation of sustainable economic development through the use of cooperatives.

Their presentation was titled:  “Establishing a Secondary Agricultural Co-operative Model in South Africa, which defined what financial and organisational services are needed for co-operatives to be a success”.

The group studied 10 KwaZulu-Natal co-operatives representing a range of structures, operations and markets.

‘This research has been a huge learning experience for us as we have engaged with various co-operatives, local government officials and farmers to gather information,’ said Sacerdote. 

‘Through this case study we discovered that as co-operatives become sophisticated so do the services they provide and that there are benefits in collaboration and pooling of resources.

‘This information will be vital in providing an outside view of what makes co-operatives successful.’

At the presentation, UKZN alumni and PEACE Foundation representative Mr Phakama Nhassengo highlighted the NGO’s role in alleviating poverty in rural areas by cultivating sustainable partnerships between the communities and local stakeholders through co-operatives.
author email : jumo@ukzn.ac.za