This document has been made available in electronic format by the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA)
June, 1998
(Source: Asia-Pacific Co-op News, Vol. 5, No.1, Jan-Apr., 1998, p.2-3)

Second Asian Top Leaders' Conference on "Collaborative Strategies for the Development of Agricultural Co-operatives in Asia",

The Second Asian Top Leaders' Conference on "Collaborative Strategies for the Development of Agricultural Co-ops in Asia", jointly organised by the ICA ROAP, JA-Zenchu and the IDACA, was held in Tokyo, Japan, April 13-17 1998.

The Conference was attended by representatives of India, Malaysia, Myanmar and Sri Lanka, and the participants of the 12th ICA-Japan Training Course on Strengthening Management of Agricultural Co-operatives. The Conference was also attended by Mr. Robby Tulus, ICA Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific.

The Conference took note of the resolution adopted by the first Asian Conference, the Conference documentation explaining the conduct of the ICA-Japan training courses, and the financial contribution to the programme provided by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of the Government of Japan. The collaborative arrangements between the ICA and the JA-Zenchu/IDACA to conduct the course and other agricultural co-operative activities were also considered.

In the light of the above, and the discussions which had taken place during the working sessions, the Conference adopted unanimously the following recommendations:

i. The contents and format of the training programme have been of high quality and have been well-recognised by the user organisations and the participants. The Conference strongly recommends that the financial assistance of the Government of Japan for this programme be continued, and the scope of the project be further expanded;

ii. The Conference strongly urged the user-organisations/ sponsoring organisations to document the progress of the project proposals produced by their nominees, critically evaluate the pros and cons of the project proposals, and provide strong support to implement these proposals, with modifications, if necessary;

iii. The Conference suggested to the ICA ROAP and IDACA to realign and redesign the contents and duration of the training programme without compromising on its quality to attract more suitable candidates to participate in the future training courses, and, if possible, carry out discussions with the user-organisations to pre select the participants. The Conference also urged the user organisations to outline their expectations of their candidates from the training course e.g., project proposals;

iv. The Conference taking note of the high quality of the training imparted, strongly recommended that the user-organisations come forward to be increasingly involved to consider the increase of counterpart contributions in view of the anticipated budget cuts which the Government of Japan proposes to introduce effective 1998;

v. In view of the importance of agricultural co-operatives to meet the challenges of free market competition and to ensure food security, the Conference strongly urged the user-organisations to strengthen the business management aspects of such co-operatives, and for this purpose, enlist the collaboration of other inter-national and national organisations by using the ICA and IDACA network;

vi. The Conference placed on record with high appreciation the role played by the ICA Regional Office and the IDACA in the development of agricultural co-operatives in Asia, and recommended that more active contacts be established to identify common problems and their possible solutions.