One of the five point priority agenda of the Asian Farmers Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) is to build and strengthen farmers’ cooperatives and their enterprises that will give farmers a stronger involvement in value chains and increase their market power. Thus, AFA has established a Cooperative Development Program which aims to “build a strong and viable network of farmers’ cooperatives, owned and controlled by small scale family farmers, engaged in sustainable and growing business enterprises that leverage economies of scale.”
A starting point for the roadmap to building and strengthening farmers cooperatives is the conduct of Cooperative Development Forum at national level.
For the month of March, Cooperative Development Forum were conducted in Nepal and Vietnam.
In Nepal, the workshop was entitled “Unlocking the Potentials of Agricultural Cooperatives to Deliver Services to the Small Scale Forest and Farm Producers in Nepal”, held last March 24, organized by AFA, with members National Land Rights Forum (NLRF) and Central Tea Cooperative Federation (CTCF), and AFA partner All Nepal Peasant Federations Association (ANPFA) with the support of FAO-Forest and Farm Facility. The workshop was attended by 51 participants from cooperatives, farmer organizations, non-goverment organizations and government ministries of cooperatives and rural development.
In Vietnam, the workshop was entitled: “Knowledge and Experience of Agricultural Cooperatives in Vietnam and Delivery of Services to Accelerate their Growth and Development: Cooperative Development Forum”, held last March 27-29, organized by Vietnam Farmers Union (VNFU), with Collectif Strategies Alimentaries (CSA), Asian Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Asia (AsiaDHRRA) and AFA. The workshop was attended by 64 participants representing leaders of cooperatives at commune, district and provincial levels, as well as national leaders of VNFU and the Vietnam Cooperative Alliance and their development partners and representatives from the Department of Cooperatives.
In both workshops, the policy environment for the agricultural/farmers cooperatives was initially examined, the initiatives of selected farmers’ cooperatives were shared, a strategy framework for cooperative development was presented, and the possible models and approaches of a national cooperative strategy was discussed.
Photo credits: 1-AFA; 2-Nonoy Villas