A cooperative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned democratically controlled enterprise.
The guiding principles of cooperatives are:
- Voluntary and Open Membership
- Democratic Member Control
- Members’ economic participation
- Autonomy and Independence
- Education, Training and Information
- Cooperation among Cooperatives
- Concern for Community.
The promotion of sustainable livelihoods is strongly linked with income-generation activities for the community. Cooperatives play a major role in enhancing such activities and satisfying the basic community needs. They provide opportunities to people to organize services – such as financial services, agricultural extension and marketing services, input supply etc – collectively by pooling their resources without depending upon the government or other agencies.