Quebec Summit to discuss future of agriculture sector

26 Apr 2012


Agriculture has been given a platform at the International Summit of Cooperatives in Quebec.
As the biggest co-operative sector, according to the ICA's Global 300 list, agriculture and agri-food will be a key topic at the Summit with ten guests from around the world discussing the industry's future.
The panel of speakers appearing at the October 8–11 event includes Won-Byong Choi, National Agricultural Cooperative Federation, NACF (South Korea); Leonardo Delgado, FEDECOVERA (Guatemala); Patrice Gollier, InVivo (France); Claude Lafleur, La Coop fédérée (Canada); José Hugo Lares Sierra, Triunfo Verde (Mexico); Yves Le Morvan, Coop de France (France); David Moroney, Co-operative Bulk Handling, CBH Group (Australia); Denis Richard, La Coop fédérée (Canada); Serge Riendeau, Agropur (Canada); and Svend Erik Sørensen, Danish Crown (Denmark).
One of the speakers, Leonardo Delgado, told eDigest that he is looking forward to the opportunity to talk about the Federation of Cooperatives of the Verapaces (Fedecovera) in Guatemala. Fedecovera is the overseeing organisation of 36 co-operatives across the northern region of the country, which is made up of 60,000 people.
Mr Delgado, Fedecovera general manager, said: “When I knew the subject of the conference, I thought that I could introduce Fedecovera as an agricultural co-operative with a high social value.”
Since 1976, Fedecovera's entire membership has been built-up from the indigenous Maya population, which also supports 80,000 farmers separated into 33 groups. The organisation's primary economic activity is a sustainable forestry development and the cultivation of the highest quality coffee, cardamom, and black tea.
Speaking about the sustainability of agriculture in Guatemala, Mr Delgado, who has been in his role since 1990, explained: "In our country it is difficult, we have no aids from the government, but it is not impossible. We are on the global market along with other countries. It does not matter if we are small in respect to other companies, we are motivated and organized.”
Looking to the international scene of co-operatives in agriculture, Mr Delgado added: "A co-operative is a non-profit organization, but its aim is not capitalization. We have to consider that co-operative principles make sense in a social activity. The social aspect is the most important in a co-operative. But to attempt it we need money."
Mr Delgado explained that a virtuous co-operative is one that finances from profits a social activity, which represents the main cause of the co-operative.
The agriculture and agri-food workshop will take place at the Summit on Wednesday morning during the 'Winning strategies for doing business differently' session.
• To take part in the International Summit of Cooperatives, visit:

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