Mr. Anthony Nurse, President of Addis Alem Co-operative Society

The socio-economic history of our island Barbados has shown that the pooling of resources has been the bedrock on which many members of the working class section of society have been able to utilize as a means of upward mobility. Although these interactions may not in all cases be deemed as co-operatives in the puritan sense, we can see that within the pre- as well as post-plantation era the cooperative spirit was quite alive. Unfortunately, there has been somewhat of a reversal in this trend within some sections of the contemporary Barbadian socio-economic landscape. In this regard, we at the Addis Alem Co-operative Society Ltd realize that our people have before us a prime opportunity through the co-operative movement to be drivers of the local economy, thus becoming actors rather than spectators as it relates to our nation’s development.

The Addis Alem Co-operative Society Ltd was conceptualized with the aim of seeking to assist in addressing the problem of unifying and organizing farmers as it relates to the marketing of their products, thus allowing for a smoother transaction along the supply/demand chain. Our organization outlined the objective of capitalizing on market potential through ensuring this said interaction. We have envisioned a sector in which the use of information technology is the norm rather than the exception. In this regard, it would also become a means of allowing the various skills both educational and technical, which exists among the members of the Rastafarian community, more specifically among the members of The Church of Haile Selassie I to be pooled and ultimately coordinated in such a manner as to ensure that they can constitute a valuable resource in terms of assisting in our national development.

This comes against the backdrop of an appeal by the Government of Barbados for Barbadians to develop a spirit of entrepreneurship and investment in business ventures through the pooling of capital. We the members of Addis Alem Co-operative Society Ltd saw the setting up of a co-operative also as a means to address the issue of unemployment among members of our community through a proactive approach.

The Addis Alem Co-operative Society Ltd realizes that the agricultural field is quite fluid and ever changing and as such we must be both proactive and resilient. Thus we are seeking to continually develop, utilize and be proponents of information technology and therefore showcase their advantages within the sector. In the not too distant future, we will therefore seek to commence the initial stages of the CropGuard smartphone app roll out. We envision this application will greatly assist in the sharing of information in a timely fashion which is so essential in this fast paced world. This will be done in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and other stakeholders.

In the final analysis, we must take inspiration from the words of Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia, who quite aptly stated, “The people themselves must come to realize their own difficulties in the development of their community and try to solve them by collective participation following an order of priority and taking their potentiality into account. Co-operatives must, ultimately, play a highly important role in the growth of Our economy, and no time can be lost in availing Ourselves of the benefits to be derived from them. Should Our people fail to avail themselves of this opportunity, the consequences will be regrettable indeed.”

Presented on May 24, 2015 by Anthony Nurse, President of Addis Alem Co-operative Society Ltd.