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Prosperity for All

The Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) once again hosts the ASEAN
Cooperative Business Forum (ACBF). It is CDA’s second consecutive hosting of the said
event after the successful 6th ACBF in November 30, 2016 in Quezon City, Philippines,
showcasing the Philippine cooperatives best and exemplary practices and products.
This year’s 7th ACBF will be held on January 15-18, at the Pan Pacific Hotel,
Malate, Manila. Around 200 delegates are expected to participate in this momentous
event coming from ASEAN Member States, and with the participation of other countries,
cooperatives, farmers and fishers’ organizations, development organizations, and, civil
society organizations. They will come to make a categorical declaration and to express
their firm commitment to: 1) Champion the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger
especially among small farmers, indigenous communities and fisher folks who ironically
produce the food needs of the ASEAN people and of the world; 2) Promote and advance
social solidarity economy through cooperativism where people and the environment are
the priorities more than profit towards attaining inclusive development; and 3) Strongly
advocate sustainable agricultural technologies and promote local industries towards
sustainable livelihoods and conservation of natural resources.

According to Undersecretary Orlando R. Ravanera, Chairman of CDA, “we will

affirm the initiatives, policies, linkages and other strategies done in building an informed
constituency in the ASEAN Region”.

In his message for the delegates, Chairman Ravanera categorically states that,
“This year 2018, we are firmly committed to: 1) Be the voice and institution of the poor
and the excluded in resisting growth-centered development aggressions, and, instead,
promote people-centered development with emphasis on benefiting the small holders; 2)
Consolidate our efforts and promote the inter-country collaboration, such as learning
exchanges, coop-to-coop trade, capacity building, information sharing, etc. in fostering
sustainable development of agri-cooperatives; 3) Advocate for legal framework and/or
enabling policies and appropriate programs; 4) Funding support for development of agri-
cooperatives among the Member States; 5) Promote continuing social dialogue and
ensure institutionalized and meaningful participation of farmers’ organization (FOs) and
civil society organization (CSOs) in various ASEAN processes concerning agri-
cooperatives such as AMAF, ACEDAC, and, ASWGAC, among others; 6) Facilitate and
promote linkage with other platforms (e.g. NEDAC, ICA, etc.) and private sector; and 7)
Promote youth, gender equality and women empowerment to have increased
participation in the agri-cooperative sector”.

The 7th ACBF is also made possible with the collaborative efforts of the following
convenors and sponsors: Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development
(AFA), ACDI Multipurpose Cooperative (ACDI MPC), Federation of Peoples’ Sustainable
Development Cooperative (FPSDC), CLIMBS Life and General Insurance Cooperative,
The Philippine Cooperative Center (PCC), Nueva Segovia Consortium of Cooperatives
(NSCC), AFP Finance Center Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Bukidnon Pharmaceutical
Multi-Purpose Cooperative (BUPHARCO), Cooperative Insurance System of the
Philippines (CISP), Mindanao Consolidated Cooperative Bank (MCCB), Tagum
Cooperative, NATCCO Network, Oro Integrated Cooperative, First Community
Cooperative (FICCO), Sacred Heart Savings Cooperative, San Dionisio Credit
Cooperative (SIDCC), ASEAN Farmers’ Organization Support Program (AFOSP), with
the funding support from European Union, International Fund for Agriculture
Development, and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
The conduct of ASEAN Cooperative Business Forum was envisioned to, 1) Have
a fair and just society where small-scale women and men farmers and producers, and
their families as well, are free from hunger and poverty, are happy and in good health,
and live in peace and prosperity; 2) Have farmers rightful access and control over the
lands they till and other basic productive resources; nurture their farmlands through
appropriate, integrated and environment-friendly agricultural practices and technologies,
get fair market for their products, have control over their goods and services; and, 3) Be
self-reliant, educated and able to participate in development processes through politically
strong, socially responsive, culturally sensitive and economically viable farmers’
organizations and cooperatives.
Ultimately, ACBF aims to unite to act in building and strengthening, farmers’
organizations and agriculture cooperatives in the ASEAN region to: a) Expand trading
transactions between and among agri-cooperatives and partners through a Memorandum
of Agreement/Understanding; b) Continue to showcase products of farmers’
organizations and agriculture cooperatives through the conduct of the Cooperative Trade
Fair Exhibits in each country or at the regional level; c) Engage the ASEAN Working
Group on Agricultural Cooperative (ASWGAC), ASEAN Center for the Development of
Agri Cooperatives (ACEDAC), and the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) towards
the formulation, lobbying and final adoption of ASEAN Roadmap on Agricultural
Cooperatives; d) Enhance more coop-to-coop collaborations, policy forums, learning
exchanges, social dialogues as well as other areas for cooperation among stakeholders;
and e) Document contributions of agri-cooperatives in the Gross Domestic Product of
each country and the over-all United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of ending
poverty, zero-hunger and promotion of gender equality.