The National Cooperative Union of India released a statement on the role of cooperatives and the apex union in responding to the COVID-19 related challenges. The first initiative of Indian cooperators from across the country is to support the Prime Minister’s clarion call to observe a self-imposed ‘Janata (public) curfew’ on Sunday 22nd March and restrict their movement to very essential activities.
Palestine’s Economic and Social Development Centre (ESDC) provided sterilisation materials for 26 cooperatives, to be used in production and other places with daily operations and customer interactions. To enhance food security, ESDC participated in a national campaign to create home gardens by delivering 100,000 seedlings to 1000 cooperative members. A survey was conducted of families/ farmers/ workers affected by the lockdown which resulted in lost incomes.
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.
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.
India’s Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), members of the International Health Cooperative Organization (IHCO) and the International Organization of Industrial and Service Cooperatives (CICOPA) were among the first to respond to the pandemic highlighting the impact of the crisis on informal workers, identifying it as a double pandemic with people potentially losing both their lives and livelihoods.