North-Western Farmers’ Co-Operative Society Ltd

North-Western Farmers’ Co-Operative Society Ltd

Lusaka

In 1914, farmers across Northern Rhodesia were facing poor prices due to overproduction. In 1915, a group of farmers form the North-Western Farmers’ Co-Operative Society Ltd. Although there was no formal link between the Farmer’s Association and the co-operative, membership over-lapped.

The goal of the co-operative was to control enough of the produce in Northern Rhodesia to increase prices. If prices went too low, supplies could be withheld. Alternatively, when prices rose, stocks could be marketed to benefit of farmers rather than speculating territorial traders.

The co-op had very limited success because it was never able to control the requisite proportion of produce place onto the market. Also, some farmers stayed out of the market as it did not pay as quickly as territorial merchants.

Eventually, after long negotiations, the British South Africa Company reluctantly agreed to a £5000 line of credit to the organisation and offered a contract for 7,500 bags. The company was reluctant to get involved with the co-op as the influential businessman Tom King did not join. King was partner in the King & Werner – a major territorial merchant for cattle and maize.

References

  • Black and White in Southern Zambia – Kenneth P Vickery