FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean

Inter-cooperative cooperation and integration A driver for the transformation of food systems


In a context of climate change and accelerated degradation of natural resources, persistent poverty and lagging productivity in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), compounded by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. LAC faces the imminent challenge of transforming agricultural and food systems into more productive, sustainable and resilient models so that the region can continue to be a pillar of food and nutritional security and poverty reduction at the global level. This transition process must at all times keep in mind the ethical imperative that "no one can be left behind" to achieve "recovery with transformation".

In this context, promoting and strengthening the cooperative model appears as a fundamental element to drive the necessary changes.  In this scenario, agri-food cooperatives are positioned as associative enterprises that make great contributions to obtaining a better life, better production, better nutrition and better environment, positioning themselves as a collaborative engine for an optimal rural development. With this in mind, for some years now the strengthening of the cooperative model has not only come from the public sector, but has also been taking place in spaces of collaboration and cooperation between the cooperative movements themselves in different countries, both from developed countries and from the developing region itself.

The online conference "Intercooperative Cooperation and Motor Integration for the Transformation of Food Systems", organized by Co-operatives of the Americas and the FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, seeks to provide an overview of the topic, seeking to deepen the dynamics of intercooperative relations and reflect on their potential and projections in the transformation of food systems. The Conference will also officially launch a virtual platform for inter-cooperative collaboration that has been developed within the framework of the formal partnership between FAO and Cooperatives of the Americas in LAC. The virtual platform will offer a virtual space that aims to serve as a collaborative community for capacity building, knowledge sharing and the generation of business opportunities for cooperatives in the agrifood sector.

The purpose of this virtual seminar will be to share experiences and visions on the topic of collaboration among cooperatives, delving into aspects such as the motivations of cooperative movements to support their peers in other countries, spaces for inter-cooperation and the projection of processes along these lines, highlighting the launch of the virtual platform for inter-cooperative collaboration of FAO RLC and Cooperatives of the Americas.

Dulclair Sternadt, Partnerships Officer of the FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, will moderate the virtual conference. The space will have three key moments which are detailed below.

1. Presentation of the context, by the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) in Latin America and the Caribbean.

2. Panel discussion, where different aspects of inter-cooperative collaboration will be addressed, both at the bilateral level (AFA, CONCOPAR and Cooperativa Vega Real of the Dominican Republic) and in multilateral spaces (REAF). Afterwards, there will be a round of direct questions to the guests, plus a second round in case there are questions from the audience.

Prior to the round of questions, each of the guests will make a brief presentation (without power point, only spoken) of their entity. The time for this will be 3 minutes. Then, the first round of questions will answer the following questions:

First question, addressed to AFA, CONCOPAR and Cooperativa Vega Real:

What value do you place on cooperation between cooperative movements in different countries, and can you give us some examples of actions that your organization has developed in this regard?

Second question, addressed to Lautaro Viscay, REAF:

In your opinion, what is the role of multilateral spaces such as REAF in promoting collaboration and cooperation actions between grassroots cooperatives, second-tier cooperatives and other organizations linked to the subject?

Third question, addressed to all:

In the processes of cooperation and inter-cooperative collaboration that are taking place in the region, in the current context, is there a need for the presence of other institutional actors? Can public policies play a role in these processes?

A second round of questions will be based on the reactions of the public present virtually at the event, with a maximum of two questions to be read by the moderator. The realization of this second round will be subject to the time available.