Agricultural Co-operative Development (1998)
(Source: ICA in Asia and the Pacific -Annual Report 1997, pp.4)
Agricultural Co-operative Development
Agriculture is still the major sector of the Asia-Pacific Co-operative Movements.
During 1997, the Agricultural Co-operative Development Project has been able to conduct various activities in the Region. One of the major activities was to organise a meeting of the ICA Committee on Agriculture for Asia and the Pacific in Colombo on 14 August, 1997, where 15 delegates from China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam attended and approved the new constitution of the committee.
The committee also approved a proposal to hold a joint seminar of the agriculture and consumer committees in Seoul in October, 1998 during the Regional Assembly meetings.
Another important activity was the organisation of the second Asian/African Conference of Women Farm leaders of Agricultural Co-operatives, held jointly by the ICA ROAP, the IDACA, JA-Zenchu and the Afro-Asian Rural Reconstruction Organisation (AARRO) in Tokyo 5-9 November, 1997. 43 participants representing 21 countries and three international organisations attended the conference.
The conference recommended that efforts be made by agricultural co-operatives and government agencies to help farm women organise in groups and associations for providing opportunities for empowering them, initiate, develop and expand literacy programmes for rural women, provide leadership development programmes, vocational training and facilities, provide reservation of quotas on boards and managing committees, provide more employment opportunities for women, etc.
A third important activity was the proposal for setting up an International Co-operative Trade Net Work (ICTN) in the Region.
A project proposal was submitted to the international development partners, with whom the Project Advisor had several discussions. An agreement is expected to be signed in 1998 confirming the funding of the project and setting up of the Trade Network.
The project also provided consultancy services on agro-processing and marketing management for the ex-participants of the ICA ROAP seminars and workshops.
The Regional Director and the Agricultural Co-operative Development Advisor participated at the Seminar on Co-operative Law in China.
It is expected that the first Chinese Co-operative Law will be enacted by the Peoples' Congress next year.
The International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP) also organised the 2nd Asian Farmers Conference 9-12 December in Lucknow where the ICA was represented by the Agricultural Co-operative Development Advisor.
He also coordinated an Exchange programme between China and Canada, where a six member Chinese delegation visited Canadian Agricultural Co-operatives.