More than 70 representatives from farmer organizations, cooperatives, civil society organizations and agri-agencies gathered in Sulo Hotel, Quezon City, Philippines on December 1-2 to discuss priorities, strategies and actions for strengthening agricultural cooperatives in Asia.
The workshop was a follow up to the 6th ASEAN Cooperative Business Forum (ACBF) held on November 29-30 in Novotel, Quezon City, Philippines, where government, CSO, farmer and cooperative representatives pledge to support the development and strengthening of agri coops in the region as vehicles for inclusive development.
The event was organized by AFA, PAKISAMA, AsiaDHRRA, We Effect and CSA, with support from OXFAM, AFOSP-MTCP2, EU, IFAD, SDC and FAO’s FFF.
A total of 77 participants from 14 Asian countries and 4 European countries joined the event.
The specific objectives of the workshop were to: 1) appreciate the role of agricultural cooperatives; b) share and learn from successful experiences of managing agri coops; and, c) formulate concrete strategies and an operations plan for strengthening agri cooperatives in Asia in the next five years, with focus on the sub regions (SEA, SAARC).
Participants gathered lessons learned from the experiences of successful agricultural cooperatives in Asia like Ja Zenchu in Japan and NACF in South Korea, NCC in sri Lanka, as well as IFFCO in India and FPSDC and SIDC in the Philippines.
They also reflected on the role of agri coops in achieving SDGS through a presentation from ICA and envisioned possible models and structures for agri coops with input from a draft discussion paper by AFA’s agri coop program officer.
They looked at possibilities for cooperation at the regional level through a presentation from Fair Trade Asia Pacific and AFOSP-MTCP2.
Lastly, participants developed 2016-2020 strategic action plans per sub-region for AFA and non-AFA members.