Creative solutions to minimise the effect of COVID-19

29-06-2020

Wordera Farmers Cooperative Union (FCU) in Ethiopia has several business activities. The key businesses are: output marketing, an agricultural service centre and animal feed production. 
The union is facing several challenges due to COVID-19, such as: finding enough input for their animal feed production and finding markets for their members’ beans and chickpeas. Additionally, many of the primary cooperatives of the union are facing difficulties in repaying their loans to the union.

 

In order to cope with the new challenges Wodera FCU has implemented several measures to control the effect of COVID-19:
  • The union is visiting its primary cooperatives to collect the output of their farmers and to make payments. This way the primary cooperatives don’t have to travel to the union, which is difficult for them due to travel restrictions. 
  • The union is supporting its primary cooperatives on loan repayment, either in cash or in kind. 
  • The union assigned a person for each primary cooperative  to support by phone on several topics such as: bookkeeping, how to prepare financial reports, planning for AGM, how to transport products and sharing daily market information.
  • The union is increasing their stock of raw material for animal feed  production.
  • Surplus maize, which cannot be sold on the market due to COVID is used for animal feed production. 
  • When Wodera sold wheat to another union they agreed to receive maize as payment. 
  • Wodera is planning to sell their  beans and chickpeas using a tender procedure, and use the Agriterra network to find a buyer. 
COVID-19 has also created new opportunities through an increased demand of teff and wheat. Wodera FCU has been able to receive a loan of 30 million ETB (roughly €750.000) to purchase teff, wheat and white pea from their members. Additionally Wodera is using its union bases in Addis Abeba to distribute teff and wheat to consumer cooperatives. By working directly with consumer cooperatives the consumer prices are stabilised. 
 
 Products        

 Place                                                               

 Distributed product in   quintal
 Teff  Addis Ababa 10 consumer cooperative unions  4586
 Teff  For consumer cooperative unions on Debre Birhan zone  2461

 Wheat

 Merkeb  3072

Wodera union is also grinding the wheat it collects from its members. Recently they have started supplying to the local government in Debre Birhan for consumption purposes. 

Lastly, Wodera started making creative use of its network. Another union, Merkeb needed wheat, whilst Wodera needed maize for its animal feed production. After contacting each other the unions made an agreement to exchange the goods in kind. A great example of cooperative collaboration! 

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