Promoting the image of cooperatives in response to COVID-19

With the spread of the COVID-19 and its economic and social impacts, the world is facing a time of unprecedented uncertainty. It is a time when things that were previously unimaginable are now a reality. Despite the difficulties, cooperatives in the world are demonstrating their ability to reorganize themselves, to reinvent themselves and to cooperate. Cooperatives have developed across the world in helping the socio-economic sector of the people, and cooperatives needs to be used even more so in agriculture, livestock and manufacturing sectors in Myanmar.
Myanmar’s agricultural sector is also suffering from the consequences of the Covid-19, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation is planning to perform three projects to develop the agricultural cooperatives by spending US$35 million from $200 million of the loan from World Bank for the National Food and Agriculture System Project.
With 39,929 societies and syndicates, Myanmar cooperative sector has about 4.2 million members and 39,929, providing financial support to the cooperative member farmers, to buy the farming machineries by the hire -purchase system, promoting and assisting the farming services, producing the seed, supporting the input, and promoting the development of the cooperative in order to form the standard cooperative regions.
The task being carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation is an herculean one as the ministry is based on the rural population. So too is the cooperative societies. Members of the cooperative societies are to make efforts in accordance with the rules and regulations and to find its strength in the support of those very same people and communities amidst COVID- 19 while the Union Government is supporting them to make sure that they have the capability for cooperative work and corporate investment. Only then can they form such farmers’ groups.
The need for a community-based economic model is vital in these moments. It is a cooperative model that serves its people and its communities. The image of cooperatives was tarnished in the past though the essence of the cooperatives system is very noble. Hence, today is the right time to turn the challenges into opportunities for promoting the image of cooperatives in Myanmar.

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