ICA President Visited Agricultural Credit Cooperatives of Turkey
Dr. Ariel Guarco, President of the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA), visited the Central Union of Agricultural Credit Cooperatives of Turkey on 21 February 2022. Under the auspices of President of Board of Directors Köksal Kacır, a meeting was held and information on the structure and activities of Agricultural Credit Cooperatives was presented to President Guarco.
ICA President Dr Ariel Guarco made a visit to Turkey between 20 - 22 February 2022 within the scope of the visit program of ICA member organizations and the meeting programs within the framework of the FAO-ICA Cooperation agreement. As a member of the ICA, Agricultural Credit Cooperatives hosted President Guarco at its Central Union in Ankara. President Guarco was accompanied by Mr Muammer Niksarlı, President of National Cooperatives Union of Turkey and Mr Ünal Örnek, Cooperatives Europe Board Member.
Director of Accounting and Budget Department Ms Sertaç Gürsoy, Director of Procurement Department Mr Caner Çelebi and Director of Strategy Development and Organization Department Mr Harun Kırmızı attended the meeting and explained the structure and activities of Agricultural Credit Cooperatives.
President Kacır stated that Agricultural Credit Cooperatives has a long history of cooperation and a dynamic structure that adapts to changing conditions. Nothing that Agricultural Credit Cooperatives, with its 158 years of experience, support its members by providing loans and agricultural inputs in order to ensure rural development, Mr Kacır said Agricultural Credit Cooperatives also purchases and processes the products of its members and sells these products at Cooperative Supermarkets.
“Bridge between the producer and the consumer”
As a farmer and cooperator himself, ICA President Ariel Guarco expressed his admiration for the activities of Agricultural Credit Cooperatives and thanked for its contribution to the cooperative movement. President Guarco told that Agricultural Credit Cooperatives acts as a bridge between the producer and the consumer and therefore, sets an important example. Upon a question on the foundation of a pool for cooperatives so that cooperatives around the world can access financial resources with ease and on the development of a model for bartering, President Guarco explained the efforts of the ICA on these issues and stressed the importance of collaboration among cooperatives.
ICA President Guarco visited a Cooperative Supermarket and received information on the products Agricultural Credit Cooperatives produces at its companies and sells at its supermarkets. Agricultural Credit Cooperatives supports other producer coooperatives by marketing their products at Cooperative Supermarkets.
“Agricultural Credit Cooperatives has taken a significant role”
Within the scope of ICA President’s visit program, National Cooperatives Union of Turkey organized a meeting with the participation of various cooperative representatives. President Guarco expressed his appreciation for the cooperative diversity in Turkey, which he resembled to Argentina in that sense, and added that he visited 60 countries and 200 cooperatives and it was not common to see such a diversity.
ICA President gave information about the ICA, which celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2021 and represents the interests of 1.2 billion cooperative members. President Guarco emphasized the need for a transformation in food systems where the producer and the consumer should take the leading role. “In this sense, Agricultural Credit Cooperatives has taken a significant role by standing in between the producer and the consumer,” he said. Dr Guarco concluded his speech by saying even though the challenges we encounter as cooperatives are global, the solutions are local and the ICA is ready to assist cooperatives whenever needed.
On Tuesday, 22 February 2022, which was unique in the solar calendar, FAO Turkey and the ICA organized an event called “TwosDay” to mark this special day and promote the ongoing partnership. The event brought international organizations such as the EU, ILO, FAO, representatives of ministries, cooperatives and universities together and drew attention to the importance of the cooperative system.
ICA President Ariel Guarco made a keynote speech where he underlined the importance of international cooperation and inter-agency dialogue. “The FAO and ICA must adapt to cultural, economic and social changes in order to ensure food security,” he stated. President Guarco also talked about food system transformation, saying producer cooperatives and consumer cooperatives should work together. He gave the example of Agricultural Credit Cooperatives, which he regarded as important in terms of acting like a bridge between the producer and the consumer and creating dialogue among other cooperatives.