Covid-19: Co-op updates, 6 April

Today we focus on global updates, with news from the USA, Brazil and India


Fisheries co-ops in Goa will be allowed to trade again after social distancing rules have been relaxed by the government.

Last month’s lockdown had left millions of tonnes of caught fish lying in storage, at risk of going rotten and being wasted.

“We also understand that people want to eat fish. They have stayed away from eating it for so long. So, to keep the balance, we have allowed the fisheries cooperative societies and associations to sell fish,” said Goa fisheries minister Philip Neri Rodrigues.

But the traditional fish markets will stay closed to contain the spread of Covid-19. Officials are now trying to devise ways to enable fish sales without bringing the risk of spreading the virus.

Also in India, a sugar cooperative in Bharuch district, Gujarat, has switched to production of hand sanitiser in response to shortages and soaring prices.

Ganesh Sugar Mill, which has 17,000 farmer members, is making 5,000 litres of sanitiser a day using the extra neutral alcohol it derives from sugar molasses. Other brands are currently selling for as much as Rs150 (£1.60) for 100 litres but the co-op is selling its Ganesh Care product for Rs35 (40p).


The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in conjunction with the World Health Organisation and UNICEF have launched the WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub in partnership with Whatsapp.

The hub provides simple, actionable guidance for all types of organisations that rely on WhatsApp to communicate with others including health workers, educators, community leaders, nonprofits, local governments and local businesses. The site also offers general tips and resources for users around the world to reduce the spread of rumours and help people connect with accurate health information.

The UNDP says an important part of the new partnership is a dedicated messaging service in Arabic, English, French and Spanish managed by WHO to keep people safe from coronavirus. This easy-to-use messaging service has the potential to reach 2 billion people and enables information to be shared directly with the people that need it.

The news was welcomed by Icmif, the global body for co-op and mutual insurers, which is a partner of the UNDP. All Icmf member organisations are invited to share information on the hub with their member policyholders through their usual distribution channels to help them find the latest, accurate information on the Covid-19. The material is currently available in 58 languages and this number is growing.


The Cooperative of Coffee Growers in Guaxupé (Cooxupé) says it will distribute BRL14.4m (£2.2m to its members to mitigate the impact of Covid-19.

The amount received by each producer will depend on the operations carried out with the co-op. The payments will start on April 6.

Cooxupé president Carlos Augusto de Melo said the payment is in accordance with the co-operative’s statutory rule, despite the fact that its AGM had been postponed because of the pandemic.


Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association is donating a total of $200,000 for Covid-19 support in Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming on behalf of its 46 member distribution co-ops public power districts and non-utility members.

“We are proud to support each governor’s efforts to provide relief in their state,” said Rick Gordon, chair of Tri-State and director of Mountain View Electric Association in Limon, Colorado. “Co-operatives know well that we are all stronger when we combine our resources and work together to serve our communities.”

Tri-State is working with the governors’ offices in all four states in which it operates, to identify relief fund needs. Tri-State will donate to the Colorado COVID Relief Fund; the All Together New Mexico Fund; the Wyoming Hunger Initiative and all local United Ways of Wyoming; and the Nebraska Impact COVID19 Relief Fund.

Tri-State’s electric system is operating normally to deliver power to its members, and the wholesale power supply cooperative has implemented well-planned procedures to address pandemics that ensure reliable power and protect the health of its employees and its communities.

“Tri-State is focused on safely delivering power and ensuring the reliability of the regional power grid while protecting the health of our employees and the communities we serve,” said Tri-State CEO Duane Highley. “Our employees continue to do the hard work of keeping the lights on while taking good care of each other and their communities.”