Co-ops to make loans, handle claims

Revisions have been made to a proclamation that will allow cooperative unions to represent their members at any insurance company and to act as an insurance company if their members loose agricultural production or properties from natural or human causes.
Union members will pay a premium and that money will go to the insurance company they are working with.
The proclamation will also allow unions to loan their members money. If the person dies before the loan is repaid the union will pay the remaining balance.
It also allows the primary cooperative union to send more coffee, sesame, vegetables, and cereals into the export market.
The minimum number to make a primary union will increase from 10 to 50.
Negusu Taye, who is a lawyer at the Federal Cooperative Agency told Capital that these revised proclamations will strengthen basic and cooperative unions.
“The impact of unions in Ethiopia’s economy is growing but we want to keep improving this revision will allow them more financial and market access so they can enhance their performance,” he said.
He added that new council will be established by members of voluntary comparative unions which will work to address their member’s problems, conduct research and training.
Through the budget office members will gain access to information and increase their business skills and capacity, cooperatives will be able to adapt their operations to meet farmers changing needs by expanding their product lines, developing value adding processing, or moving into entirely new types of business.’’
Cooperatives are an age old tradition that runs through the fabric of Ethiopian society. For centuries, the spirit of self help has been an integral part of farming communities. However, despite the existence of 22,379 agricultural cooperatives in Ethiopia with a membership of 5.4million, smallholder farmers are still challenged by low productivity and lack of modern agricultural equipment.
Currently more than 74,000 primary cooperative unions work in agriculture, industry, mining and saving and loans with an estimated capital of seven billion birr in Ethiopia.