Food security was at the centre of the issues discussed at the International Food and Agricultural Congress in Antalya, Turkey.
At the event, which brought together delegates from 65 different countries, Stéphane Bertrand, Executive Director of the 2012 Summit, pointed out that agricultural cooperatives make an important contribution to food security in numerous countries.
“In the year 2000, the United Nations launched the Millennium Development Goals, the first of which is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger in the world,” Mr. Bertrand said. “Today, more than one billion people worldwide suffer from food insecurity. There is a very strong relationship between reducing hunger on the planet and reducing poverty.”
The role of agricultural cooperatives Mr. Bertrand said that agriculture is one of the main job-creation sectors in rural areas, where the majority of the world's populations struggling with poverty and malnutrition live.
“Agricultural cooperatives have a major role to play in this regard: not only can they help give farmers access to the resources they need for production, but also to markets where they can move their products,” he said. What's more, agricultural cooperatives give farmers the opportunity to participate in the decision-making process, giving them greater access to land ownership and greater negotiating powers.
“In this way, agricultural cooperatives ultimately help to reduce poverty, ensure greater food security and eradicate hunger across the globe,” he added.
The agricultural and agri-food sector will be in the spotlight at the International Summit of Cooperatives, and an entire workshop will be dedicated to managers of cooperatives in this key sector. Together, agricultural, agri-food and food distribution cooperatives represent close to 40% of the activities of the cooperative movement worldwide.
In fact, it is estimated that the survival of one out of every two people around the world depends on the activities of an agri-food cooperative. “With the International Year of Cooperatives decreed by the United Nations, the time has come to rediscover one of the best-kept secrets of the global economy: the amazing power of cooperatives,” continued Mr. Bertrand.
“Many of the biggest agricultural cooperatives have already confirmed their attendance, both as speakers and participants. The cooperative model represents a viable solution to the economic, social and environmental challenges of our time, and this is precisely what the 2012 Summit will show,” he concluded.