“COPA-COGECA underlines the decisive role of farms and
in feeding the world”
The closing ceremony of the Year of Family Farms was held in Manila on November 27, 2014. Civil servants, representatives of family farming networks, cooperatives firms, the private sector, universities and UN agencies, convened to take stock of the initiatives undertaken and the progress achieved.
During the ceremony, the FAO launched the book “Deep Roots” published with the participation of COPA-COGECA. The organization seized the opportunity to underline the weight of agri-cooperatives in both developing countries and industrialized nations. A significance outlined in a recent press release that is available below1.
In fact, farm and agro-food cooperatives account for close to 40 percent of all cooperatives firms worldwide. With combined sales of $377.3 billion, France ranks second behind the United States among all cooperatives posting sales over $100 million.
The latest International Summit of Cooperatives held in Quebec provided the opportunity to highlight their effectiveness in implementing qualified strategies to successfully fight the intrinsic market instability. In addition, while the “governance system is not developing fast enough, the civil society and cooperatives must play a role” said Hafez Ghanem, the former Assistant Director General of the FAO in charge of Economic and Social Development. In an increasingly globalized and financialized world, uniting to supply and develop thus makes sense, not only for farmers but for consumers as well.
Yet, cooperatives are lacking a new influence approach––the internationalization of their network to act on global governance. Pierre Pagesse, Chairman of momagri, and Denis Richard, President of the Coop Fédérée, have launched an appeal to that effect. Cooperatives must pull more weight in international discussions through concrete solutions to resolve the issues of food security and implement effective regulation.
momagri Editorial Board
In book launched by FAO at closing Ceremony of UN International Year of Family Farms, Copa-Cogeca underlines crucial role of family farms and agri-cooperatives in feeding the world.
In a book launched by FAO today at the closing ceremony of the United Nations International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) in 2014, Copa-Cogeca underlined the crucial role of family farms and agri-cooperatives in feeding the world, creating jobs, boosting economic growth, and caring for the environment, and outlined key actions needed to realise their full potential.
The book “Deep Roots” includes contributions from governments, FAO Ambassador for IYFF
Gerd Sonnleitner and farm organisations from across the world and will be distributed at key
international stores. Coming from a family farm himself, Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen stressed “I am glad FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva has highlighted in the book the vital role of family farms in eradicating hunger and poverty and conserving natural resources. It is crucial to have a dynamic, modern, resilient agriculture sector in the future which gives family farms and agri-cooperatives a viable future and ensures food security for Outlining key measures, Mr Pesonen said “With farmers getting only 8% on average of the price of a loaf of bread, family farms need to gain more income from the market. It is essential for them to be able to get a better market return We believe that agri-cooperatives can help farmers to meet upcoming challenges and improve their positioning. They enable farmers to join forces to market their produce and add value to produce to get a higher return. A recent study of the European Commission has demonstrated that in EU countries with higher market shares of cooperatives in the milk sector, farmers receive significantly better prices (by some 10% to 15%), compared to countries with low market share of dairy cooperatives”.
To ensure generation renewal in the future, family farms – in all their forms and irrespective of size - must be economically viable and profitable. Copa-Cogeca therefore calls on heads of state and governments to ensure family farms are prioritised in their agendas, key tools are provided and barriers to trade tackled. In particular, they must ensure that:
• access to land and natural resources is provided for family farms;
Concluding, Mr Pesonen said “With family farmers income half the average level in Europe, it is vital for family farmers to earn a decent income from the farm. I hope that 2014 was not seen as a way just to celebrate the International Year of Family Farming, but to really change some policies in order to improve their situation. And we need to make sure that this process continues into 2015 and well beyond that”. To read the book, please see http://digital.tudor-rose.co.uk/deep-roots/
1 The November 27, 2014 press release is available from: http://www.copa-cogeca.eu/Main.aspx?page=Archive&lang=en
• investment in the sector is stepped up and research and innovation are boosted with knowledge transferred to farmers to encourage the uptake of innovative solutions;
• conditions are established to help producer organisations like agri-cooperatives set up so that farmers can join forces to market their produce, add value to produce to get a higher return and better manage the extreme market volatility;
• farmers are given proper training and education;
• the contribution of women to family farms is recognised across the world;
• young farmers are given support as they face difficulties when getting started;
• unfair and abusive practices in the food chain are addressed so that farmers have a better chance to get an income from the market;millions of people across the world. This is particularly important given that world food demand is expected to grow by 60% by 2050 and that 842 million people still suffer from chronic hunger in the world”;
• non-tariff barriers to trade are tackled and support to find new market outlets and export promotion boosted;
• family farms have access to internet and other infrastructures, in line with the rest of society.