Nicaragua: Cattle association expands business, benefits members

Situated in the mountain village of Matagalpa, Nicaragua, the cattle association ASOGAMAT stands out as an example to other associations, cooperative and companies as a model for success in achieving sustainable business development. In only one year’s time, it has demonstrated rapid financial, managerial capability, organizational and membership growth – and gained a valuable new customer.

Milk truck at milk collection station in Nicaragua.The co-op attributes this surge in success to the tools it received from the U.S. Agency for Cooperative Development’s (USAID) Cooperative Development Program (CDP) under mentorship from Cooperative Resources International (CRI). With these tools, ASOGAMAT created a strategic plan to address the co-op’s weaknesses, develop process manuals, gain more milk producers and attract and meet the standards of new customers.

For nearly a century, CRI has worked with American farmers and their cooperatives to improve their productivity and profitability. It now provides the same expertise to smallholder dairy and beef producers internationally and their often nascent cooperatives. Under CRI’s mentorship, many farmers and their local cooperatives find that their new, expanded and more stable business activity continues long after donor funding has ended.

Since undertaking the planning and implementing its strategies, ASOGAMAT has reached capacity for fluid milk collection, and its new customer has provided funding for a new collection center. The association also has paid off all its bank debt, which has opened more doors for financing, and it has begun making micro-loans to its members to encourage steady production. Other achievements include:

  • 30% increase in milk collection
  • 20% increase in farmers supplying it with milk
  • 25% more inputs, including veterinary supplies, concentrates and feed supplements, sold to its producers
  • Projected growth in milk collection of more than 30% per year

Norman Montenegro, ASOGAMAT’s general manager, said, “CRI’s counsel and participation in the planning worked as a catalyst to make these important changes happen. We knew where we wanted to go, we just didn’t know where to start.”

ASOGAMAT continues to work diligently to achieve the goals and objectives of its strategic plan and creating a sustainable, successful, independent enterprise to support its members.

Learn more about CRI and its sustainable international cooperative development. CRI is a member of the U.S. Overseas Cooperative Development Council. Follow OCDC on LinkedIn and CRI on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Posted 6/21/16