The National Cooperative Business Association applauds the leadership at the Rio+20 Conference for recognizing the important role that cooperative enterprise plays in achieving international food safety and security goals as articulated in the conference outcome document.
As our planet becomes more crowded, we must determine how to feed the people of the world in a sustainable way that protects our resources, reduces poverty and advances social equity. Cooperative enterprise can help to accomplish these goals. Cooperatives are values-based businesses, owned by their members, and are created to meet specific needs.
Agricultural cooperatives, as the theme of the 2012 World Food Day notes, are the “key to feeding the world.” In the United States and around the world, NCBA works with cooperative businesses to build the world’s future and address today’s needs, including the eradication of hunger. Through its CLUSA International program, NCBA has helped develop cooperatives and other sustainable businesses in more than 100 countries since 1953.
CLUSA International is a globally recognized leader in organizing people to help themselves and also a thought leader in applying cooperative strategies to international development. We work with cooperatives and organizations to create long-term, sustainable and tangible results for farmers and communities in the developing world.
Specifically, CLUSA International provides programmatic and technical assistance in cooperative development, agriculture and food security, finance, natural resource management, community-based health, democracy and governance. CLUSA programs focus on increasing small farmers’ food security and income through improved farmer organization, agricultural productivity, business services, finance, market access; youth empowerment; and the nutrition and health of vulnerable populations.
The following projects demonstrate the work already underway by CLUSA International, funded by the United States Agency for International Development, to reduce poverty, advance social equity and manage our natural resources sustainably.
USAID|Yaajeende: Seeking to Empower 1 Million Rural Poor In Senegal
CLUSA has embarked on one of USAID’s first Feed the Future Initiatives to accelerate the participation of the very poor in rural economic growth catalyzing sustainable development with Senegal’s agriculture sector and improving food security. We’re working to enhance the nutritional status of local populations by improving the availability, access, utilization and stability of food and food-related resources and to empower the participation of the very poor in rural economies. CLUSA will improve food security and nutrition for 1 million individuals throughout Senegal and increase household incomes by 250 percent.
USAID-Wula Nafaa: Reducing Poverty through Sustainable Development
In Senegal, more than three million people–about 25 percent of the population–suffer from hunger year-round or seasonally, resulting from a combination of long-term under-investment in the agricultural sector and from vulnerability to food crises and external factors. To address these issues, CLUSA International has been an integral partner in administering the USAID-funded Agricultural and Natural Resources Management Program USAID-Wula Nafaa, a multi-phase program, in Senegal since 2003.
USAID-Wula Nafaa has successfully contributed to the reduction of poverty, an increase in local sustainable development, increased revenues for rural producers and families, and empowerment of communities and local authorities in the promotion of decentralized, integrated, and participatory management of natural resources.
GLOBAL CDP: Addressing Food Security and Trade Issues on 3 Continents
Cooperatives in developing countries face major challenges to their success. Throughout six countries spanning 3 continents, CLUSA’s USAID-funded Cooperative Development Program (CDP) works to improve the capacity of indigenous organizations to build and strengthen cooperative systems in their own countries in order to improve quality of life. Currently, CDP is working with cooperatives to address food security and trade issues, such as joining producer and health groups in Kenya for Food Security Plans and linking Central American Cooperatives with American purchasing cooperatives to improve trade relationships. CDP continues to champion changes to the enabling environment to further the prospect in the local market for cooperative business. Today in Mozambique, training and advocacy sessions are helping institutionalize new cooperative laws and registrations as well as improve governance, management, finance models and tools that can be widely disseminated. Such actions will transform the network of small, antiquated cooperatives into modern cooperative enterprises.
MOZAMBIQUE: Creating Sustainable Fair Trade Markets
The IKURU cooperative in Mozambique was established with CLUSA’s assistance in 2003, born out of efforts in country since 1995 to build farmer-owned cooperatives that improve farming practices and result in increased incomes for small-scale producers. IKURU is the recipient of a Global Development Alliance grant from USAID and receives technical assistance from CLUSA in a number of areas, including providing essential, value-added services, which enhance crop productivity and increase the diversity of market opportunities. IKURU members were the first producer groups in Mozambique to become Fair Trade and organic certified, and IKURU pioneered the market for trade in both organic and Fair Trade groundnuts. IKURU is the first-ever Mozambican company to produce an organic certified cashew, a product previously thought difficult, if not impossible, to produce viably because of the need to chemically treat cashew trees. Under GDA, IKURU expanded its annual volume traded and increased sales nearly two fold during the life of the project. IKURU is the only Mozambican company researching, producing, promoting and selling low cost inputs. This is a big success in rural northern Mozambique where inputs are expensive, hard to obtain, or impossible to purchase in small quantities and do not form part of local agricultural practices.
To learn about CLUSA International’s projects, visit www.ncba.coop/ncba-clusa/home.
To learn more about the Rio+20 Conference, visit www.uncsd2012.org.
ABOUT NCBA (www.ncba.coop)
The National Cooperative Business Association is the national association for cooperative businesses providing cross-sector education, support and advocacy to help start and grow co-ops across a variety of sectors, including agriculture, childcare, energy, financial service and credit unions, food distribution, healthcare, housing, retail and telecommunications. For nearly 100 years, our mission has been to develop, advance and protect cooperative businesses demonstrating that cooperatives are a better business model for advancing economic and social impact. For 50 years, we have supported cooperative development globally through our CLUSA International program.