Swedish Cooperative Centre - Zimbabwe Country Office
SCC has been in Zimbabwe since 1984 and the single biggest area of support has been agriculture. In the 80's support was mainly to mobilise farmers into groups and associations through the National Farmers Association of Zimbabwe. During this phase SCC also supported organisational development training in these newly formed farmers associations. With the advent of the Structural Adjustment programmes in the 90?s support shifted to market facilitation and promotion of youth and women participation in Agriculture through the Zimbabwe Farmers Union and Rusape Cooperative Union. Since 2000 support to Agriculture has focussed on increased production, market facilitation as well as access to trade information. The Agriculture sector receives the major share of SCC support with 83 % of programme resources targeted for this sector for the current 3 year programme period.
The allocation to the sector includes trade and marketing development, gender, HIV/AIDS and study circle programmes for farmers. The support to agriculture has helped farmers to increase their production, identify markets and be able to reduce marketing and input procurement costs through collaboration as members of farmers groups and associations. This has resulted in increased income for those farmers that are members of commodity associations and consequently reduced poverty. In addition to Agriculture SCC support has also been focussed in the areas of cooperative housing development, rural savings and credit and more recently HIV/AIDS.
In all projects SCC has promoted gender equality. Through the Cooperative housing development with Housing people of Zimbabwe poor people who cannot access housing loans have been able to save and build their own homes. Because of the success of some housing cooperatives the Zimbabwe government now recognises cooperative housing as a viable method in housing provision for the poor. Despite the current hyper inflation in Zimbabwe cooperatives are still able to carry out some construction using the concept if incremental housing where members quickly turn their cash into building material.