GIS - October 12, 2012: Planters, breeders and fishermen who have regrouped themselves in cooperative societies are assured of benefitting from the various schemes and plans put into place by the Government to enable them to become modern entrepreneurs.
The Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Satish Faugoo, made this statement today at the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden (SSRBG) at the launching of activities to mark World Food Day 2012. He recalled that it is essential to train planters, breeders and fishermen on the means to enhance the production process and the quality of their products as well as add value to produce by engaging in food processing activities.
The Ministry, through several empowerment programmes, has been working towards fostering a new category of planters, breeders and fishermen who are focused on entrepreneurship, the Minister said. On that score the necessary training has been provided, with the collaboration of various stakeholders.
The Minister of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives, Mr J. Seetaram, in his address underlined the need to professionalise the agricultural sector, given that food security and food production are both closely related. He listed out the various achievements of the cooperatives sector in food production, adding that the theme for this year’s celebration clearly indicates the importance cooperatives.
The theme for World Food day this year is “Agricultural cooperatives: key to feeding the world”, in recognition of the role cooperatives in improving food security and contributing to the eradication of hunger.
To commemorate this event the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security is organising a sales exhibition of agricultural products at the SSRBG. The exhibition includes a Salon de la Pomme de Terre, free tasting of potato dishes, alternative ways of eating potatoes and new technologies in the agricultural sector, amongst others. The exhibition is open to the public during the week end.
World Food Day was proclaimed in 1979 by the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organisation and has since been observed on 16 October each year. The theme chosen for 2012 is in recognition of the role cooperatives play in improving food security.
Cooperative societies are present in all countries and all sectors, including agriculture, food, finance, health care, marketing, insurance and credit. It is estimated that one billion individuals are members of cooperatives worldwide, generating more than 100 million jobs around the world. In agriculture, forestry, fishing and livestock, members participate in production, profit-sharing, cost-saving, risk-sharing and income-generating activities, that lead to better bargaining power for members as buyers and sellers in the market place.
Agricultural and food cooperatives are already a major tool against poverty and hunger, but they could do much more. There is need to strengthen these organisations and facilitate their expansion while creating a favourable business, legal, policy and social climate in which they can thrive.