Supporting agriculture cooperatives helps farmers withstand test of COVID-19

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As the COVID-19 pandemic has brought an impact on the country’s economy, Myanmar’s agriculture sector seem maintain the market thanks to robust performance of the regional cooperatives. Agriculture on which over 70 per cent of the country’s population is relying for livelihood requires special attention in the face of risks amidst COVID-19. While the pandemic has hindered logistics and the trading of agricultural products from one area to another, regional cooperative syndicates joined together to work on helping local farmers and entrepreneurs sell their products. Their cooperative efforts have resulted in maintaining the stability of the agro product market, and it points out that the agricultural farming and cooperative sectors remain inseparable.
Similarly, a cooperative syndicate can grant agricultural loans to their members, and can also help them generate profits, as their products can be sold at wholesale markets, due to the cooperative system. This is evident that unity is strength. Hence, local authorities are highly advised to help farmers form cooperative syndicates, in accordance with the law, to cope with the pandemic’s headwinds.
Myanmar cooperative sector is being operated by 4.2 million of members and 39,929 cooperative syndicates providing financial support to the cooperative member farmers, the ability to buy the farming machineries by hire purchase system, promoting farming 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. Meanwhile, under the COVID-19 Economic Relief Plan (CERP), the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation is developing 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.
We are witnessing that the ministry is providing assistance to grain production and fish farming nationwide under the CERP.
Hence, we would like to urge cooperatives in regions and states to continue to their mobilization to provide relief to grain production, circulation, processing, storage, import and export and consumption, and offer good financial services to the animal husbandry industry in efforts to create job opportunities in rural areas as most migrant workers have returned to rural areas.

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