Leonardo Delgado talks agricultural co-ops

With only three days left until the Quebec Summit, Mr Leonardo Delgado, the General Manager of Federation of Cooperatives of the Verapaces in Guatemala and keynote speaker at...

With only three days left until the Quebec Summit, Mr Leonardo Delgado, the General Manager of Federation of Cooperatives of the Verapaces (Fedecovera) in Guatemala and keynote speaker at the Summit’s Agricultural Co-operatives Workshop, shared his vision on the role co-operatives will play in the future of agriculture.

Fedecovera comprises of 36 co-operatives of Indigenous Maya and also supports and assists 80,000 small farmers organized into thirty-three groups. The primary economic activities of these people are Sustainable Forestry Development and the cultivation of the highest quality Coffee, Cardamom, and Black Tea.

Mr Delgado explained the International Summit in Quebec will open many opportunities for co-operators from all over the world, enabling them to share ideas and exchange experiences.

“For us it is a privilege and a great honor to be invited to take part in the International Summit by Ms Monique F. Leroux, Presidet of Dejardins.

“We believe this will be a great opportunity that will enable us to let both, the co-operative movement and the business world, see what Fedecovera has managed to do following its own strategy.”

Mr Delgado added the Summit marks an important moment in the history of co-operatives.

“At this time of global recession, co-operatives, even when they are affected, manage to survive and overcome it,” he said. Mr Delgado believes co-operatives were able to come out of the economic crisis even stronger than before because their common interests and aims.

“If we have 1,000 partners we also have 1,000 owners,” he explained.

He also stressed the importance of co-operatives in the development of local communities and tackling poverty. He said the International Summit, in the context of the International Year of Co-operatives, is a great opportunity for co-ops to raise awareness not only of the co-operative movement, but also of the various issues which developing countries are confronting.

“I firmly believe that sustainable development is not a utopia, but a reality. We are the best option for people to fight extreme poverty, hence we have to be highly effective in all processes in the agricultural sector within developing countries. We have to take many responsibilities, seeing how in other developed countries governments encourage and subsidise the agricultural sector, which is a competitive advantage.”

Ever since it was founded in 1976, Fedecovera has generated growth and encouraged sustainable development within the local Maya indigenous communities of Guatemala.

“One of the objectives of the Federation is precisely improving the lives of more than 60,000 people who live around co-operative enterprises. This by itself requires great efforts, from both the human and economic perspective,” said Mr Delgado.

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