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The establishment at the Kilimanjaro Native Planters’ Association in 1925 marked the beginning of modern cooperation in what was then Tanganyika. It was followed by the enactment of a cooperative societies ordinance in 1932, which set the stage (for the establishment of coffee and tobacco production cooperatives and related unions and the beginnings of regional cooperative federations, which expanded in number up to the time of independence in 1961. The Cooperative Union of Tanzania come into being in 1961 and a Cooperative College was established at Moshi in 1963, an institution that has effectively trained several generations of cooperative leaders and officials in the movement and the government. The government of Tanzania under Julius Nyerere opted for a socialist path to the country’s development, to be based on a structured network of ujaama villages, which were to be organized and function as cooperatives. This was seen as a way of building a national grassroots cooperative spirit from the bottom up (though directed from the top), which was also to be the basic production structure for the economy. Above the village level, the supply and marketing functions of existing cooperative federations (which were abolished) were assumed by state supply and trading organizations. The country was effectively organized into villages by the latter part of the 1970s, achieving to a significant degree the drawing together of a widely dispersed population. The expectations for cooperative villages, however, were never widely realized, and the limited achievement of that part of the vision was acknowledged in the early 1980s. Legislation was passed at that time authorizing establishment of cooperatives separate from the village governments, reinstituting cooperative unions and authorizing a new national cooperative organization to be built on the new network of cooperatives. Nyerere retired as president in 1985, and with his departure come the acknowledgment that the organizational arrangements that had been part of the ujaama vision had proven unrealistic. Since then, the movement has been reconstituting itself. The ICA Regional Office for East, Central and Southern Africa reported in 1994 that there were 8,909 cooperatives in Tanzania with 1,351,018 members (5.0% of the population) An ILO report in 1995 covering several countries in East and Southern Africa lists Tanzania as having 4,316 cooperatives with 526,475 members. These divergent statistics suggest that there are probably large numbers of inactive cooperatives reflected in official figures.
Jack Shaffer, Historical Dictionary of the Cooperative Movement, The Scarecrow Press, Inc. Lanham, Md., & London 1999

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