ASEAN-wide promotions of agri coops pushed

The Philippines on Tuesday called for increased collaboration with other member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in promoting agricultural cooperatives deemed important for poverty reduction in the region.

Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) Chairman Orlando Ravanera made the call as the country hosts the 7th ASEAN Cooperative Business Forum to provide opportunity for learning exchange and cooperation towards enhancing ASEAN economic collaboration through agricultural cooperatives.

“There is a remarkable economic growth in this part of the world, in Asia, as growing region. (But) how can you reconcile the reality that in Asia, 560 million are below the poverty line. Along that line, you know that the great equalizer is cooperativism,” he said in a press briefing.

Ravanera cited as an example the Philippines which is producing the number one coffee in the world, but remains a top importer of coffee.

He said cooperatives are now following value chain in producing various agricultural products.
Data indicated there are now some 26,600 cooperatives in the Philippines with some 14 million members.