They looked at how to collaborate in order to create a supportive and positive environment for the development of cooperatives and to enhance their growth and sustainability.
Speaking in New York with Daniela Bas, Director of the United Nations Division for Social Policy and Development, Thomas Magnusson said “At Cogeca, we represent 22, 000 cooperatives in the EU who have nearly 7 million farmer members. They process and trade 40% of the total output of the EU agricultural sector, providing unique services and ensuring a better positioning for farmers in the food chain“.
Explaining the cooperative model, he said: “They are unique from other types of business as they are owned and controlled by their farmer members who can use the services to their benefit and who at the end of the year will get a share of the profits”.
He welcomed the United Nations General Assembly Resolutions on Cooperatives as they gave momentum to the global cooperative movement. “I look forward to keeping up this momentum and collaborating further with the UN to encourage the development of agri-cooperatives” he said.
President Magnusson was also pleased to see the UN’s recognition of the power of cooperatives to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He stressed: “Our members have a unique role to play in realising the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Unlike any other economic sector, European farmers and their cooperatives play a vital role in providing food, as well delivering territorial, environmental and social objectives” he said.
He described how European Agri-cooperatives are pioneers in developing innovative products and in finding ways to eliminate food losses and food waste all along the supply chain. He said: “They offer infrastructures, for instance, to smallholder farmers to help minimise post-harvest losses and engage in innovative recycling, reuse, by-product synergies, and renewable energy projects. He continued: “I need to stress that a competitive farming sector and viable rural areas play an essential role in delivering environmental, economic and social sustainability.
Mr Magnusson is a farmer, and together with his son, runs a mixed dairy and forestry family farm around the town of Växjö in South-Central Sweden. He is currently a member of the Board of the Lantmännen cooperative group and delivers his milk to Arla, a dairy cooperative.