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ICAO Webinar on the Role of National Agriculutural Co-operatives in the Post COVID-19 Era

9 SEPTEMBER 2020

The International Co-operative Agricultural Organisation (ICAO), which is one of the eight sectoral organizations under the International Cooperative Alliance, held a two-hour webinar on “the Role of National Agricultural Co-operatives in the Post COVID-19 Era” on 1 September 2020.

As a member of the ICAO, Agricultural Credit Cooperatives of Turkey participated in the webinar titled “the Role of National Agricultural Co-operatives in the Post COVID-19 Era”.  The webinar featured five speakers from four continents who shared what the co-operatives have done during the COVID-19 pandemic and where they should be headed going forward in the post COVID-19 period.

Former Minister of Agriculture of Brazil Dr Roberto Rodrigues, Mr Guilherme Brady from Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), Mr Tarun Bhargava from IFFC (Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative), Mr Albert Boakye from Ghana Co-operatives Council, and Dr Bülent Gülçubuk from Ankara University addressed the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the actions cooperatives have taken to face these challenges in their speeches. Cooperatives have acted as economic catalizors and have shown solidarity during the COVİD-19 crisis by creating awareness, distributing food aid packages and health products, supporting emergency-affected farmers through funds, ensuring food security, collaborating with private and public sectors.

It is highlighted that structural problems regarding food should be addressed in the post COVID-19 era. The COVID-19 pandemic has pointed out not only the the importance of cooperatives and local businesses for a resilient economy, but also the necessity for digital transformation in agriculture, protection of natural resources, implementation of sustainable production models, having more conscious consumers and producers to prevent food crisis in the future. It is concluded that the pandemic has also created more opportunities to cooperate, especially the collaboration between agricultural cooperatives and consumer cooperatives can create value chains, facilitate access to food and ensure food security.