Myanmar farmers create not-for-profit Agricultural Cooperative

Settlement Services International’s group visit to Synchronicity Farm.

 

FIVE members of Coffs Harbour Myanmar refugee community have achieved the first step to becoming business owners with their successful registration as a not-for-profit organisation under NSW Fair Trading.

The five farmers are now officially the Myanmar Community Agricultural Cooperative.

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Having worked in consultation with Settlement Services International (SSI) in 2019, the group learned of SSI’s Ignite Small Business Start-ups program, which is funded by Lendlease in Coffs Harbour.

Connecting to land was the main desire expressed by the group in the consultation.

Rebecca Mordaunt, Ignite Facilitator, told News Of The Area, “The Myanmar community members were keen to access land on which to work, using their agricultural background.

“Ignite began by connecting the farmers to an expert local resource team to fulfil the registration process for Fair Trading.

“Thanks go to the ongoing commitment from a growing team of resources which can support the people and the process – local businessman and community member Arthur Hein, Tony Brindley of Small Business Connect, Josh Allen of Synchronicity Farm & Raw Food Hub and Sam Byrne of The Co-op Federation with support from Cooperative Farming.

“But to the real heroes, our tenacious farmers, who have sat through numerous meetings covering off structure, constitutions, rules and concepts that are completely foreign – we salute you.

“Next step is to get onto land…”

Ignite was designed to assist newly arrived humanitarian immigrants or refugees to set up a business.

“Humanitarian immigrants face perhaps the greatest barriers to setting up a business enterprise in Australia because they have no financial capital, no social capital, their human capital is not recognised, they don’t know the market or the business red tape.”

If there is anyone from the Coffs community who would like to support this group getting onto land – touch base with Rebecca Mordaunt, [email protected] or +61 402 664 304.

 

By Andrea FERRARI

 

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