Importance of Cooperatives in Feeding the World

Cindy Zimmerman

“Co-operatives are a reminder to the international community that it is possible to pursue both economic viability and social responsibility.” Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General

That is a quote on the official United Nations 2012 International Year of Cooperatives web page and the UN Secretary General’s visit to the 2012 World Food Prize last week indicated the importance that they place on agricultural cooperatives in feeding the world. Agricultural cooperatives, already enriching millions of small-scale farmers, could expand and make an even greater contribution against poverty and hunger, according to the World Food Programme.

Amy Bradford with GROWMARK attended the World Food Prize last week to engage with attendees from over 70 countries and find out what more the Illinois-based farmer co-op can do to help increase global agricultural productivity. “We are involved in cooperative education, most recently in Ghana, working with local farmers there to form cooperatives,” Amy said. GROWMARK is also hosting a group of Brazilians this month to share with them how working together really does improve their long term profitability. “How it can help collaboration, how it can help them get the inputs they need to grow food for a growing population,” said Amy. “We help educate farmers and others about the value of cooperatives and what that brings to the table in terms of raising incomes and socioeconomic impact.”

I ran into Amy right after the Global Agricultural Productivity (GAP) report was released, and she said she would be sharing that report with GROWMARK farmer members to help them see areas of the world where they could help provide education on cooperatives. Incidentally, GROWMARK is also helping to feed the world with the GROWMARK cookbook which was sold for $20 each this year and proceeds donated to Farmers Feeding the World.

Listen to my interview with Amy from World Food Prize: Interview with Amy Bradford, GROWMARK

View the World Food Prize Photo Album here.

AgWired coverage of the World Food Prize is sponsored by Elanco
Audio, Cooperatives, Food, GROWMARK, World Food Prize