Cooperatives can play a key role in providing essential services for the communities they serve, as was shown at the ‘Cooperatives, the time is now!’ event in Seville on 21 June.
During the third workshop of the day delegates heard from Sheila Villalobos of Covirán, a food distribution cooperative, and Ricardo Delgado, President of COVAP, a cooperative of livestock producers.
Covirán was set up in 1971, said Ms Villalobos, to offer more competitive prices. Its supermarkets serve villages, neighbourhoods and cities across Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar.
“We choose not to leave small villages. Why? Because we are a cooperative,” she said, adding that the cooperative model could be replicated in any territory. COVIRAN runs 2,856 supermarkets, many of these in remote, underserved areas.
COVAP was established in 1959 to serve livestock producers. Its 2,500 members are owners of the cooperative, clients who buy animal feeds and services, and providers who sell their meat and dairy products to it.
Mr Delgado explained how in addition to helping members cut costs and increase their income and margins, the cooperative aims to help to dignify this profession, focusing on changing people’s mentality and encouraging more women to become involved.
Both speakers highlighted the importance of cooperation among cooperatives in their work, expressing their willingness to work with other cooperatives in all sectors.
Watch the full recording from 21 June here (in Spanish).