2012 marks the United Nations International Year of Cooperatives. In keeping with that special occasion, new offices for cooperatives were inaugurated at FAO headquarters, to translate FAO’s special commitment to cooperatives.
The theme for this year’s World Food Day “Agricultural cooperatives – key to feeding the world” highlights the role of cooperatives in improving food security and eradicating hunger. Two FAO Special Ambassadors for Cooperatives, Elisabeth Atangana and Roberto Rodrígues, were recently appointed, with the mandate to promote the role of cooperatives in the fight against hunger.
The following are examples of cooperatives around the world.
1. Robert Carlson, President, World Farmers’ Organization (WFO) -- "Cooperatives are important because they empower farmers, they give farmers the power in the food chain."
2. Coillard Hamusimbi, Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) -- "If farmers are not organized in groups, clusters, or cooperatives, they have no input in trying to negotiate for their prices."
3. Nelson Agyemang, Secretary General, Coalition of Farmers Ghana (COFAG) -- "The awareness has been raising significantly towards the role of cooperatives in our developing countries."
4. Aggrey Mahanjana, African Farmers’ Association of South Africa (AFASA) -- "People involved in farming are usually rural women, for whom access to land is still the biggest challenge."
5. Kai Michael Windhorst-Unique Landuse-Germany -- "Farmers’ Cooperatives through NGOs can benefit from good agriculture land management practices."