EghtesadOnline: The thousands of cooperative organizations, which are owned and run jointly by their members, created more than 1.7 million jobs across Iran, a new report published by the Center of Statistics at the Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare show.
According to the report, more than 92,000 cooperatives were active across Iran by the end of the fifth month of the current fiscal year (Aug. 22).
The highest number of cooperatives was registered in the provinces of Tehran, Mazandaran and Khorasan Razavi respectively.
From Iran's 31 provinces, those in Qazvin, Alborz and South Khorasan had the lowest number of cooperatives, Financial Tribune reported.
Tehran had 10,525 cooperatives that generated 511,298 jobs. The northern Mazandaran Province, on the other hand, had 7,270 cooperatives that created 98,708 jobs. The 6,989 cooperatives registered in Khorasan Razavi fostered 115,238 jobs.
On the other end of the spectrum, South Khorasan had only 1,046 cooperatives by the end of the fifth month of the current year, which gave rise to 9,910 jobs.
> Fields of Operation
Across the nation, the highest number of active cooperatives was active in the fields of "agriculture, hunting and forestry", "industry" and "construction". On the other hand, cooperatives falling under categories of "wholesale and retail and fixing motor vehicles", "construction" and "financial mediation" had the highest number of members respectively.
Cooperatives supporting the highest number of jobs are those engaged in the fields of "construction", "industry" and "wholesale and retail" and "fixing motor vehicles".
According to figures provided by the center, there were 23,588 cooperatives active in the category of "agriculture, hunting and forestry", which led to 251,811 jobs.
From the total number of cooperatives active across Iran by the end of the fifth month of the current year, 161 were knowledge-based cooperatives that supported 2,055 jobs.
Numbering at 68, a majority of these knowledge-based cooperatives were active in the categories of "industry" while 47 worked in "property and business activities" and 18 dabbled in "agriculture, hunting and forestry".
In terms of provincial distribution, the highest number of knowledge-based cooperatives were located in Yazd with 17 while West Azarbaijan had the least with only one. Provinces of Ilam, North Khorasan, Qazvin, Kohgilouyeh-Boyerahmad Province, and Markazi had no knowledge-based cooperatives. These cooperatives created 269 jobs in East Azarbaijan, the highest among all provinces, and only 14 in Qom, the lowest.
A cooperative is a jointly owned enterprise engaging in the production or distribution of goods or the supply of services, operated by its members for their mutual benefit, typically organized by consumers or farmers. Cooperative businesses are typically more economically resilient than many other forms of enterprise, with twice the number of cooperatives surviving their first five years compared with other business ownership models. Cooperatives frequently have social goals that they aim to accomplish by investing a proportion of trading profits back into their communities.
Workers in the city of Garmsar, located southeast of Tehran, created Iran's first official cooperative in the fiscal 1935-36. Six years later, three rural cooperatives with 1,050 members were operational, but none of them managed was successful due to lack of knowledge and weak regulations.
By the fiscal 1951-52, the total number of Iran's cooperatives reached 100. However, after the country's first Cooperatives Law was devised in 1955 and later amended by 1962, which required farmers to become members of a cooperative to be able to receive lands, the number of cooperatives shot up to more than 8,000.
The share of cooperatives sector in Iran’s gross domestic product stands at around 6%.
The parliament has tasked the government with increasing the share of cooperatives in gross domestic product to 25% by the end of the Sixth Five-Year Development Plan (March 2022). This share was also targeted by the Fifth Five-Year Development Plan (2011-16), but was never realized.
According to Deputy Minister of Cooperatives Hamid Kalantari, 74 trillion rials (about $460 million) were paid in loans to cooperatives last year to support their activities.