Together with EU Farm Commissioner Phil Hogan and MEPs, the European farm co-operative organisation Copa-Cogeca are celebrating he United Nations’ International Day of Co-operatives today in Brussels.

The event underlined the key role, which these organisations play in ensuring sustainable food production.

Cogeca President Thomas Magnusson said: “Co-operatives play a major role in enabling farmers and their members to pool their resources, market their produce and add value to it whilst anticipating consumers’ needs.

“We place people at the heart of our actions and serve the needs of our farmer members, enabling them to get a better return for their produce at the same time as creating vital job opportunities in the rural areas”.

The slogan of the United Nations 2018 International Day of Cooperatives on July 7 is ‘sustainable society through co-operation’.

This gives an opportunity to show how agricultural co-operatives run successful businesses, pool farmers assets for common goals, whilst respecting the environment and natural resources.

Welcoming the initiative, EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan said:

Co-operatives are the lifeblood of the EU agri-food sector and they provide our farmers with greater strength and security through working together."

He added: “By implementing the co-operative principles and placing sustainability at the core of their activities, agri-cooperatives enable their farmer-members to work together, in ways that increase the value of their produce and optimise the use of resources and reduce energy demand.”

Czeslaw Siekierski, chairman of the European Parliament’s agriculture committee, commented: “The celebrations remind us that cooperatives deserve to be supported in their development and protected in their commercial relations with other operators.

“It is crucial to allow co-operatives to develop further so that their members can have access to tools needed for sustainable, resilient and innovative agriculture.”