The International Co-operative Alliance supports the International Year of Family Farming

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The International Co-operative Alliance welcomes the declaration of 2014 as the UN International Year of Family Farming (visit the website of the International Year). 

Family farming has a significant role in eradicating hunger and poverty, providing food security and nutrition, improving livelihoods, managing natural resources, protecting the environment, and achieving sustainable development, in particular in rural areas.

These are goals and values shared by the co-operative movement and that, we believe, can best be achieved through co-operative enterprises.

The International Co-operative Alliance supports the aims and activities of the UN International Year of Family Farming in particular as they relate to the promotion and development of co-operative enterprises and the creation of synergies with the UN International Year of Co-operatives 2012.

Family-based agriculture, especially small-holder operations, can benefit and realize better their potential by building co-operatives which allow them to have better access to markets and financing, better bargaining power, improve efficiency and innovate.

Also, co-operative enterprises are adequate platforms for family farmers to develop social infrastructures based on ethical principles such as democracy, gender equality, concern for the community and the environment, among others.

The International Co-operative Alliance is working in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) on these and other issues of relevance for the promotion and advancement of co-operatives and hopes to develop this relationship further.

The Alliance is available to collaborate with other UN agencies and stakeholders in support of the goals of the International Year of Family farming.

Some real-life examples

The Kallari co-operative in Ecuador’s Amazonian rainforest has seen 850 farming families coming together to sell their sustainably-harvested cacao to top chocolatiers like Felchlin in Switzerland and Valrhona in France. Read more

The CROPP Co-operative Organic Valley, the US’s largest co-operative of organic family farms. Read more