New consensus to advance towards the cooperativization of agri-food systems

The circular economy and the transformation of agri-food systems was one of the topics addressed during the 23rd Regional Conference.

For this, we have an encouraging message from the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock of Honduras, Laura Suazo, who proposed accelerating sustainable development with the help of cooperatives, in charge of providing the great socioeconomic response to the drama of poverty and inequalities. .

Suazo said that in Honduras there are 73 percent of people below the poverty line, which implies that the right to food is not fully fulfilled. For this reason, he assured, it is essential to have participatory state policies that can be sustained over time.

Along these lines, he valued cooperatives as business structures capable of giving producers the possibility of obtaining inputs at a more favorable price and positioning their product in the market in better conditions, in addition to giving added value to the raw materials.

In line with Minister Suazo, the executive president of the National Agricultural Development Bank (Banadesa), Erlyn Menjivar pointed out that for many years "development models antagonistic to sustainability" were carried out in our region.

The official then encouraged strengthening the cooperative system to make resources more sustainable, support production and guarantee food security.

Also speaking on this panel were José Alfonso Valbuena, Advisor to the Cabinet of the Ministry of Agriculture of Colombia; Annabell Guzmán Rodríguez, representative of NCBA CLUSA in Honduras; Iván Franco, President of the Association of Cooperatives Argentinas (ACA) and Neivor Canton, resident of the Aurora Cooperative, from Brazil.

On the other hand, in this instance the messages sent by those in charge of the sectoral organizations of the world ICA for Agriculture, Sung-hee Lee (President ICAO) and Consumer Affairs, Petar Stefanov (President of CCW) as well as that of the general director of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Manuel Otero.

The topic addressed in this part of the Conference was completed at the closing, when the deputy director of the FAO and representative of that United Nations organization for Latin America and the Caribbean, Mario Lubetkin, put cooperatives in the foreground when it came to fight hunger and generate better conditions for the most disadvantaged producers.

The closing was led by Simona Cavazzutti, president of Redacoop -Regional Committee of Agricultural Cooperatives of the Americas (Redacoop)-, who led the way to promote solidarity, inclusive, prosperous and sustainable agriculture.

«Agriculture is present with different realities in all countries on the continent. Cooperatives, however, have a single way of working. We work with people and for people, that is our strength. We think about people before capital, in the north, in the center and in the south of the continent.

Covering the entire agri-food value chain, this panel also included a presentation by the coordinator of the Network of Consumer Cooperatives of the Americas, Héctor Jacquet, who shared the vision of how associated consumers can also drive the transformation of the system.

Jacquet pointed out that cooperatives can help rethink relationships within the food value chain, in addition to complying with other 'R's of the circular economy: reduce, reuse, recycle and repair.

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