The main strength of cooperatives is that they pool the resources of their members and as a consequence they allow their members to reduce costs, face the various challenges of the enterprise and increase their individual visibility and their capacity to negotiate prices and market their products: members, individually, would have greater difficulties running their enterprise.
i. Importance of cooperatives to members
• Cooperatives are important tools to helping members out of illiteracy through training;
• Members receive training on how to practice modern farming methods;
• Members can easily receive farming inputs such as improved seeds and fertilizers;
• Availability of market for their produce and at reasonable price;
• Mutual support to vulnerable members of the cooperatives especially by paying “Mutuelle de Sante”, giving goats, pigs and rabbits;
• Cooperatives provide support funds to their members from their reserve accounts to cater for issues like school fees, health bills and building houses;
• Cooperatives members easily access loans from the financial institutions for development projects;
• Cooperatives provide dividends to members which defer depending what each member supplied to the cooperative.
ii. Importance of cooperatives to the country
• Cooperatives pay taxes which are useful to country’s infrastructural development;
• Cooperatives are very good channels to disseminating government programs such as Girinka, Ubudehe, 9 & 12 year basic education, made in Rwanda among others to all members;
• Cooperatives provide jobs thus solving the problem of unemployment in the country;
• Increased production in different sectors such as Agriculture and off farm activities;
• Cooperatives can lead to the development of the district where they operate;
• Cooperatives can help in solving the problem of balance of payment while exporting locally made and produced goods.