Just one-third of coops are active. Generate limited income to the members - Lebanon

Just one-third of
coops are active
Generate limited income to the members
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There were 1,238 cooperatives registered in the country last year, but just one-third are active, according to a report issued by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

ILO conducted a survey for agricultural and agro-food cooperatives. The sample consisted of 147 cooperatives representing 15 percent of all agro-food and agricultural cooperatives. The majority of the interviewed cooperatives (60 percent) have refused to disclose the turnover value, while 11 percent have stated that they have been inactive during the last two years.

The report, titled, ‘The Cooperatives Sector in Lebanon’ said that a significant proportion of cooperatives are inactive and do not act for the economic benefit of their members. They just seek financial aid from public entities. Most cooperatives generate limited income to their members. Stakeholders estimate that only one third of registered cooperatives are active.

The survey showed that half of the remaining 40 percent of respondents have an annual turnover equal to $10,000, 34 percent have an annual turnover ranging between $10,000 and $100,000, nine percent have turnover between $100,000 and $1 million, and seven percent (more than $1 million).

According to the report, cooperatives market linkages are limited to nearby regional market infrastructures, wholesale market, or through direct sales. Only 43 percent of cooperatives are able to sell their production outside their direct area, and only eight percent export their production.

The limited export capacity of agro-food cooperatives is due to low production volumes, lack of food safety and food quality control, and high local demand for traditional food preparations.

Cooperatives are concentrated in the South and Nabatieh (30 percent), Akkar (24 percent), Mount Lebanon 21 percent, and Baalbek-Hermel (14 percent). The report indicated that there is low concentration in Bekaa (seven percent), although Zahleh and West Beqaa are regions of intensive agricultural production.

Half of the registered cooperatives are agricultural cooperative, and 27 percent work in agro-food sector such as food processing, dairy, beekeeping and fishery. Agricultural cooperatives provide value chain supply provision and marketing support to farmers.

The majority of cooperative members (82 percent) are men.

Approximately 55 percent of cooperatives invested in the last three years in equipment, physical expansion, and new technology. Cooperatives’ inability to undertake investment using their own funds has created a dependency on donors.
Reported by Rania Ghanem
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Date Posted: Sep 20, 2018