Mazarrelo Women Multipurpose Coop in South Sudan has four business lines: poultry, vegetables, tailoring and catering (cookies). Established in November 2019 as women only cooperative to empower women, the 106-member cooperative found itself in the codid 19 turbulence.
Replacing the stock of the layers has taken longer than expected and raising another batch of the layers will have to be delayed until the supplier completes the procedure to be able to import another new stock of the day-old chicks.
Demand for uniforms by the schools had drastically gone down as many schools have been closed.
The market for the cookies section has come down as many of the customers of the cooperative who are mostly the surrounding communities lost their incomes from the daily wages occasioned by the shutdown.
The production of vegetables has been scaled down due to restriction on entry of non-members to the farm. Hiring of casual labour has been affected.
Agriterra business advisors monitored the situation closely and have worked together with the cooperative on a new marketing strategy. The cooperative used its tailoring section for the making of face masks for its members. Given their capacity, they have worked out a plan to start manufacturing face masks for sale to the public.
The ministry of health approved the use of domestically manufactured face masks from cotton clothes by the public to reduce the incidence of infections. On the advice of Agriterra, the marketing team in Mazarrelo have made contacts with UNICEF, Cordaid, Phenicia supermarket, Panaroma Hotel and Juba Radio providing 5 samples each of the face masks and their own brochures.
A face mask is sold between SSP 800 to SSP 1000 (USD 2.8 to USD 4); with increased demand we anticipate good fortunes for the cooperative within the coming weeks of May 2020. The increasing cases of new infections and the approval by the ministry of health republic of South Sudan for use of locally made masks gives the opportunity for members of Mazarrelo to participate in the prevention of COVID-19and increase income for their members.
Due to the requirement of social distancing at work place, some tailors work from home and come to the sawing centre in shifts.