Producer organizations (POs) and cooperatives are important partners for FAO to achieve its mandate of ending hunger. The new FAO Strategic Framework incorporates their roles of rural poverty reduction and of enabling more inclusive and efficient agricultural and food systems at local, national and international levels. The 2014 International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) proclaimed by the UN, was pivotal to remind the international community of the position of POs and cooperatives as actors of change towards sustainable agricultural development. Indeed 2014 represented a crucial occasion to reaffirm the central role of these institutions in helping family farmers overcome the constraints they face. An important outcome of the IYFF was to have raised awareness on the need for stronger POs and cooperatives to unlock the potential of family farming for food security and sustainable development. An organized family farming sector around farmer-based collective action has the potential to increase the efficiency of the sector. In this sense, the IYFF gave the opportunity to leverage the legacy of the 2012 International Year of Cooperatives (IYC) and to mark a further milestone in raising the profile of POs and cooperatives at global level.
The 2014 Report provides further evidence of such support. Through the 97 contributions provided by FAO staff from both headquarters and decentralized offices, this edition illustrates how FAO collaborated with Member States, cooperatives, POs and other actors, to support collective action in the field, ultimately enabling farmers and their families to become food secure and escape from rural poverty. As widely documented in the Report, the main actions encompass facilitating the participation of POs and cooperatives in multi-stakeholder platforms and policy-making fora; supporting the development of capacities at individual and organizational level; supporting governments to promote the enabling environment for POs and cooperatives to thrive; and producing knowledge sharing materials.