International news round up: 6 October 2014

Nepal Farmers in nepal have set up co-operative tea mills in response to the low prices offered by big tea factories and to gain access to the market....


Farmers in nepal have set up co-operative tea mills in response to the low prices offered by big tea factories and to gain access to the market.

The Central Tea Cooperative Association says the 11 small tea mills and two tea factories set up by co-ops process 500-1,000kg of tea daily.

One such factory was set up by 136 farmers of the Kanyam Tea Producers’ Cooperative, who invested 8.02m Nepalese rupees (£50,000) in the business and received another Rs 3m (£19,000) from the National Cooperative Bank.

With this factory, which only processes tea produced by members, they aim to address the issue of price volatility.

They now receive Rs 30 (19p) per kg – instead of the Rs 20 (13p) they used to receive from big mills.


The regional organisation of the International Co-operative Alliance, Cooperatives Europe, contributed to a consultation on ‘Unlocking the potential of social economy for EU growth’.

The consultation was launched by the Italian government in the run-up to the European conference on social economy, which takes place in Rome on 17 and 18 November under the Italian presidency of the Council of the European Union.

In its contribution, Cooperatives Europe highlights that the conference should aim to promote social economy as a key pillar of the EU economy, recognise the diversity and plurality of businesses within the EU and focus on developing recommendations for strengthening the social economy within the EU’s internal market.

The organisation also points out that co-operatives represent 50% of all social economies enterprises and employment in the EU. It calls for a level playing field that would enable co-operatives to develop their activities while maintaining their characteristics and operating model. Read the contribution.



Representatives from financial co-operatives in the Americas region took part in a seminar on the global financial sector. The event was part of the 56th meeting of the Administrative Council of Co-operatives of the Americas, a regional organisation of the International Co-operative Alliance.

Participants examined international financial reporting standards, with case studies from the National Cooperative Banks of the USA and Coomeva of Colombia. They concluded that although the implementation of the norms is a common in various countries, this fails to take into account the particularities of the co-operative model. To address this, Co-operatives of the Americas is considering hiring a consultancy firm that to provide advice and guidance on the latest development in the implementation of the standards. This, it said, would help explore potential impacts on financial co-operatives in the region.


The National Union of Handicraft and Production (UCECOM) in Bucharest, Romania
The National Union of Handicraft and Production (UCECOM) in Bucharest, Romania

The National Cooperative Business Association of the USA is looking to extend its collaboration with the Romanian co-operative movement. At a recent meeting in Washington, representatives from both movements discussed the possibility of establishing potential partnerships and looked at the current challenges faced by co-operative organisations in both countries.

“We are always excited to learn from others within the co-op community,” said Mike Beall, president and chief executive of NCBA CLUSA.

Valentin Brebenel, deputy general director of External Bilateral Relations for Romania’s Ministry of Economy, Department of Foreign Trade, explained that both movements were trying to redefine the meaning of the word “co-operative” which is sometimes perceived as old-fashioned – and which in Romania, is associated with the forced collectivisation seen during the Communist regime.

According to Mr Beall, many young people in the USA “talk about what they would like to see in a business and describe a co-op without exactly knowing what one is”.

Cristian Mateescu, vice president of the National Union of Handicraft and Production, added: “We share the same values, principles and points of view about doing business in a way that respects social responsibility and environmental awareness.”



Researchers from across the world can now submit papers for an international research conference taking place in November 2015 in Antalya.

The event, jointly organised by the International Co-operative Alliance and the International Labour Organization, is open for practitioners, researchers and policy makers to submit abstracts of no longer than 300 words.

These could look at the role of co-operatives in formalising the informal economy, women’s economic empowerment, innovation in co-operatives, and various other suggested topics or other research areas of their choice. The two organisations are also inviting young/new researchers to submit their proposals.

More information on the conference is available here.



The East African Legislative Assembly is working to harmonise co-operative legislation across the region under a new East African Community co-operative societies bill. Throughout September, EALA will be running public hearings to involve citizens and stakeholders in the process. These will take place in each of the EAC partner states: Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

The draft law, which could be enacted by December, was designed to enable co-operatives from EAC countries to create joint ventures.

“The bill is demand-driven and we have interacted with the East African Farmers Federation (EAFF) and other stakeholders, all of whom have agreed that there are gaps which can be filled by the enactment of the legislation,” said Mike Sebalu, who introduced the East African Community Co-operative Societies Bill in 2013, as a private members bill.

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