News / Health

World Food Day: Co-Operatives Feed People Around Globe

A woman sits between piles of corn as she removes the husks on a road located on the outskirts of Beijing, October 16, 2012.A woman sits between piles of corn as she removes the husks on a road located on the outskirts of Beijing, October 16, 2012.
x
A woman sits between piles of corn as she removes the husks on a road located on the outskirts of Beijing, October 16, 2012.
A woman sits between piles of corn as she removes the husks on a road located on the outskirts of Beijing, October 16, 2012.
Selah Hennessy
Agricultural co-operatives are an important tool in the global fight against hunger, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. It's a point being underscored on World Food Day.

The Food and Agriculture Organization's Eve Crowley said agricultural co-operatives are important because they have social objectives, mobilize resources locally, and focus on sustainability. What is more, she said, they turn a good profit.

“When you add up the economic turnover of the 300 largest co-operatives alone, it's equivalent to 1.1 trillion U.S. dollars per year, which is roughly the same as the 10th-largest economy in the world, Canada.”

Co-operatives are associations of people who voluntarily form jointly-owned and democratically-run enterprises. Crowley said co-operatives have one billion members globally, and they create at least 100,000 jobs.

“The point is when you put them all together they are having an enormous impact on global finances, on global agricultural production, and on the availability and quality of food that people eat,” said Crowley.

According to the United Nations, nearly one-in-seven people suffer from undernourishment. It says small-holder farmers will provide much of the extra food needed as the global population grows to an estimated 9 billion by the year 2050.   

Crowley said co-operatives are good at withstanding turbulent economic times, and that was demonstrated during the recent financial crisis when food prices soared and many businesses struggled to survive. Co-operatives weathered the economic storm well, she pointed out.

“They were interested in the long-term security of their members, so they tended to be less speculative in the way that they ran themselves.  And in addition, when crisis hit, and if there was a shortfall in funding, in many cases members themselves chipped in to make the co-operative work,” she said.

Africa Advocacy Coordinator for the campaign group Action Aid, Henry Malumo, spoke to VOA from South Africa. He said co-operatives are key to giving small-holder farmers a stronger voice.

“It is the small-holder farmers that actually produce most of the food that is consumed, especially in poor and rural communities that business and private sector cannot reach," said Malumo. "So bringing back co-operatives and emphasizing the need to support small-holder farmers is a welcome decision and one that has been needed for so long.”

His agency, Action Aid, said that land grabs - when large chunks of land in developing countries are bought or leased by governments and big businesses - are a major problem for many small-holder farmers in developing nations. He said by working together in co-operatives, however, workers can protect themselves.

“As a united voice, they will be able to challenge and be able to confront businesses, illegal government dues, and ensuring that the land for communities remains for communities. And that people are actually given access and ownership to land,” he said.

Malumo said co-operatives have helped lift living standards in the developing world, but in many countries women have not played an equal role in co-operatives. He said if co-operatives are to grow to their full potential, more needs to be done to boost the role of women in the co-operative movement around the world.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid