The challenge for agricultural cooperatives to play a vital role in enhancing farmers’ economy and livelihood has become even greater in the 21st century, following the past century’s trend amid new issues and forces shaping their external environment. While agricultural cooperatives have contributed much to the promotion of farmers’ voluntary economic activities, increase in agricultural production and development of the rural economy through their traditional methods in terms of organizational structures, business models and management procedures, now they have to cope with the challenges of the time. Amid rapid changes in the global agriculture, technology and trade environment which have persisted since the 1990s, agricultural cooperatives and farmers’ organizations are now faced with new emerging needs and challenges from farmers, local communities and markets in the 21st century.
This seminar aimed to promote the sharing of information on successful innovation practices of agricultural cooperatives in the new era. It provided a venue for the exchange of various theoretical points of views and practical experiences on the subject. In particular, it showcased agricultural cooperatives which have created and transformed their organizational structure, business models and legal identities for small-scale farmers to enable them to overcome financial obstacles, to exploit niche-markets, and to achieve valuable agricultural goals such as food self-sufficiency, food safety, and sustainable agriculture in their respective countries. The case study presentations covered recently emerging needs and challenges, the diversification of roles of agricultural cooperatives, and the future direction for agriculture in Asia in the 21st century.
Tentative topics to be addressed: