Chilean wine and spirit producer, Cooperativa Capel, celebrated its 80th birthday with a landmark event attended by the country’s minister of agriculture, Antonio Walker.
Held in the town of Vicuña in Chile’s Coquimbo region, the event saw more than 500 guests gather for a celebratory lunch and speeches from key figures calling for unity and offering a positive vision for the future of co-operativism.
Joel Castany, president of the French co-operative group Vinadeis and president of the World Wine Co-operatives Forum, was one of the guest speakers, stressing the importance of co-ops in the agricultural sector.
“Only co-ops that have a strong bond with their partners will have the capacity to transform agricultural and environmental models, so that 50 years from now, the world will once again be focusing on sustainability,” he said.
“Where are we going with so much conflict, with so much difference? We are in an economic and social crisis. Co-operativism is a technical and philosophical response to what is happening. Share, with differences, with different levels of development, but share.
“This is an ethos that Capel has been supporting for 80 years.”
Ignacio Millet, president of Cooperativa Capel – which is owned by its 1,227 members from the Atacama and Coquimbo regions – took the opportunity to celebrate the co-op’s achievements in creating opportunities for smaller producers.
“Capel’s collaborative work allows hundreds of farmers to survive, where ordinarily, due to their size, they would not be able to compete against large companies. At the same time, our work promotes a sustainable economy and the decentralisation of wealth,” he said.