27 March 2016, Bangkok, Thailand — More than thirty delegates from farmer organizations, agricultural cooperatives and government cooperative authorities in eight ASEAN countries gathered in Kasetsart University for the start of the first ever ASEAN Learning Route on Agricultural Cooperatives, which has the theme “Strengthening the Role of Agricultural Cooperatives to Address the Challenges and Opportunities of the ASEAN Economic Community for the Benefit of the Smallholder Farmers.”
Upon arrival by delegates in the afternoon, the interpreters met for an orientation session where they were given translation gadgets and given information on the translation system from Thai to English and to their national languages and vice versa. This was followed by the first experience fair of the learning route, where participants grouped by country to begin their discussion on situation, initiatives, challenges, opportunities, learning objectives, expected improvements, among others on the theme of agricultural cooperatives in the context of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). Participants then broke the ice through an informal introduction of each delegate per country where they greeted each other in their national languages.
The learning route is being organized by the ASEAN Farmers’ Organization Support Program (AFOSP) to the Medium Term Cooperation Program Phase Two (MTCP2), a project supported by the European Union (EU), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC) and implemented through the consortium AFA and LVC, in partnership with the ASEAN Foundation and PROCASUR.
It is a recognition of the important role of agricultural cooperatives and farmer organizations in improving production and marketing in the context of the regional integration process in ASEAN.
The learning route offers the opportunity to learn directly in the field and from key players some of the best practices on:
-Agricultural cooperatives good management in the areas of internal organization, service provision to members, networking and market power;
-Development of cross-country market strategies and agreements involving public and private sector; and,
-Public policies, national legal frameworks/laws, programs and mechanism for the support of agricultural cooperatives in the framework of the ASEAN Economic Community
It will make a visit to two countries (Thailand and Philippines) where good practices of agricultural cooperatives as well as inclusive and sustainable value-chain models abound.
The formal program opens on April 28 at the Katsetsart University Homes conference room.
Click here for the official program: http://www.asiapacificfarmersforum.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/1.-ALRAC.-Programme-1.pdf
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