Cooperative Business New Zealand reported that even with significant government support schemes being rapidly activated around wage subsidies, bank loans, etc., the country was already seeing a significant rise in unemployment, now now anticipated to rise to between 10-30% over the coming year/s). Food supply is not an issue, as New Zealand is able to source locally and the cooperative community (generates 19% of New Zealand's GDP) provides a significant proportion of the food supplies (both as a producer, but also as one of the two major super market food chains).
A multitude of collective cooperative efforts in Iran are underway to increase production of materials and items needed for personal protection equipment. This includes masks, disinfectants, detergents, clothing and even raw materials.
Turkey’s Central Union of Agricultural Credit Cooperatives took a series of measures to protect its members against COVID-19 and helped primary cooperatives continue their grassroots work. All enforcement and bankruptcy proceedings carried out throughout the country have been suspended as of 30 April 2020. The union offered flexibility on loan payments. A force majeure note was recorded in the Register in the Risk Center to address farmers credit debt. Loan principal and interest amounts set to expire in April and May will be postponed for 2 months without interest.
Singapore-based NTUC Income announced that over 500,000 employees of organisations insured by its Group Employee Benefits policies will receive COVID-19 coverage at no additional premium. NTUC FairPrice Cooperative (FairPrice) supplied food and daily necessities.
iCOOP Korea increased its capacities in special disaster zones and created a COVID-19 Social Healing Project which collected KRW 4.9 Million to support the underprivileged as well as travel and service organizations. Read more on the iCOOP website here.
National Federation of University Cooperatives Association in Japan actively provided updates using social media, enabling connections all students – new and senior students. Sales have remained steady this year, nevertheless, when the university re-opens in the future, they will have to operate cafeterias, stores and other areas with safety measures in place to avoid crowding. Thus, the number of users will be greatly reduced. This poses a challenge to NFUCA.
HeW Coop, Japan set up a task force on February 19, 2020 to take cognizance of the crisis and ascertain the role of cooperatives in fighting the pandemic. The Japanese Consumers’ Co-operative Union (JCCU) informed the government the difficulties and challenges in the healthcare and welfare businesses.
The Uralungal Labour Contract Cooperative Society (ULCCS) of India started community kitchens to feed the hungry, specially arranged transportation for guest workers to reach their homes (3000 km away from Kerala), and provided cleaning and sanitising services to cities and hospitals. Their disaster management team was ready to meet any urgent hospital needs. ULCCS and its members have also provided information technology support to Government of Kerala to include what is now the official COVID-19 communication for the government called “GoK Direct”.
The Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative (IFFCO) continues to operationalize all its plants during the lockdown period. IFFCO’s managing director called an urgent meeting of its leadership to encourage all to take necessary steps to support cooperatives and rural communities in the fight against the pandemic. IFFCO is taking a multi-pronged approach to address a plethora of challenges, starting with contributing INR 250 Million (approx. USD 3.5 million) to a special fund created by the Prime Minister of India to tackle the crisis.
Board directors of the Karachi Cooperative Housing Societies Union in Pakistan individually assisted the community by arranging rations for several hundred people working with the union. Housing cooperatives in Canada launched a member survey to understand how the crisis affected cooperatives and how the federation can support them. These cooperatives also made significant donations to food banks across Canada.