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Jan 24, 2012

FAO - Cooperatives Key to Fight Against World Hunger

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva
Photo: FAO 
On 24 January 2012 the FAO reported on the United Nation's 2012 International Year of Cooperatives.  According to FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, "cooperatives and producer organizations will be increasingly important in efforts to eliminate hunger and reduce poverty around the world."
Graziano da Silva noted that "producer organizations and rural, food and agricultural cooperatives give organizational, economic, and social clout to smallholder farmers, pastoralists and those who rely on fishing and forestry for their livelihoods."

Cooperatives are found in urban and rural economies.  According to the International Cooperative Alliance, there are over 800 million cooperatives members around the world and cooperatives can either be small or large in size.  They allow for the critical pooling of resources, which includes the power to negotiate better terms for agricultural inputs. In 2008, the largest 300 cooperatives in the world had an aggregate turnover of US$1.1 trillion. 

According to Adalberto Martins, one of the leaders of the Landless Rural Workers' Movement (MST) of Brazil and member of a small-scale farming cooperative, "cooperatives are paramount to creating a new social environment and helping to organize production. Without their contribution it would be very difficult to achieve food security on a sustainable level."

Cooperatives tie into regional and international farmer and peasant organizations and movements, fisherfolk, youth, pastoralists and indigenous peoples' groups.

The FAO is planning to open liaison office spaces for cooperatives, the private sector and civil society at the organization's headquarters.

For more see: "Cooperatives central to hunger fight," FAO Press Release, 24 Jan. 2012.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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