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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid