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

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win 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.
Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs