Farmer-owned Ravensdown Fertiliser Cooperative has kicked off the year by becoming an official New Zealand sponsor to the UN International Year of Cooperatives.
As one of the largest of the rural cooperatives in New Zealand, it was a natural choice for the farm input specialists according to Mike Whitty, General Manager Marketing.
“Cooperatives have been of huge economic benefit to the whole of New Zealand and proven their worth to rural communities for more than 100 years. 2012 maybe another turbulent year for businesses around the world, so this UN Initiative to promote the economic benefits of member-owned cooperatives and mutual enterprises as opposed to investor-owned business is a timely move,” said Mike.
“Younger generations of policy makers, consumers and producers are less aware of these benefits than those who remember the ‘Gumboot Takeover’ where ordinary farmers banded together to wrestle control from the self-serving corporates of the day,” added Mike.
“We’re really happy to have the support of Ravensdown, because they are one of the leading players in the New Zealand cooperative movement,” said Ramsey Margolis, Executive Director, New Zealand Cooperatives Association, which is organising activities locally for the International Year of Cooperatives.
“Cooperatives face unique issues, so we will be initiating and collating research on their contribution to the New Zealand economy, raising continuing education around co-operatives with the Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Law Society, and jointly organising a research conference in June which will benefit all cooperatives.”
“For us, it’s not just a 12-month flash in the pan. A dedicated, UN-backed focus on cooperatives is good but Ravensdown wants the ideas to stick, the networks to gel and policymakers to remain persuaded over the long-term. That way, New Zealand will remain cooperative in practice as well as in spirit,” concluded Mike.
Ravensdown supplies close to half of New Zealand’s agriculture fertiliser and has fertiliser operations in Australia. Ravensdown is 100% owned by farmers, providing them with sound technical advice and a comprehensive range of key farming inputs, all at the lowest sustainable cost.