WUXI, China - The recently concluded "Seminar on the Development of Farmers' Cooperative for the Philippines" proved to be a successful event, fostering knowledge exchange and cooperation between the Philippines and China in the agricultural sector. The seminar, sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China and organized by the Freshwater Fisheries Research Center, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, ran for three weeks in Wuxi, China.
The seminar brought together 38 delegates from the Philippines, including representatives from the Department of Agriculture, particularly from the Farmer and Fisheries Cluster and Consolidation (F2C2) Program, the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR). Likewise, they were accompanied by selected Learning Sites for Agriculture certified by ATI, Private Agriculture and Fisheries Extension Service Provider Cooperators, and the local government units.
The seminar has been designed for the Filipino participants to gain insights into the success stories and achievements in the development of farmers' cooperatives in China, understanding their contributions to economic growth, food security, poverty alleviation in rural areas, employment opportunities, and potential areas for collaboration between the two countries.
The content of the seminar covered a wide range of topics, including an overview of China's national status over the past 70 years and the Belt and Road initiative. Specifically, the topics discussed focused on the background and significance of farmers' cooperatives, development status and characteristics of Chinese farmers' cooperatives, agricultural e-commerce, and relevant laws and regulations for the management and operation of farmers' cooperatives.
Lecturers from prominent institutions like Freshwater Fisheries Research Center, Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Nanjing University of Finance and Economics, Zhejiang A&F University, and Jianghu Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs shared their expertise, enriching the knowledge of the participants.
A significant aspect of the seminar was the field visit to various farmers' cooperatives and large-scale agriculture production bases, where the delegates had the opportunity to engage in exchanges and discussions on agricultural cooperative operations and management. Some of the notable locations visited were Jiangsu Wuxi Modern Fishery Industrial Park, Kesheng Group, TOPOWER Technology Limited, Farmers' Cooperative in Xinghua, Jiangsu Xingye Food Limited Company, Xinjian Group of Companies, and FJDynamics.
Romermart Aubigne Peñamora of ATI spoke on behalf of the Philippine delegation during the closing ceremony. He expressed that their learning journey during the three-week stay in China made them “delve into the background and significance of farmers’ cooperatives, understanding their vital role in achieving food security, increasing farmers’ income and promoting rural revitalization.” He added that “learning about the different business models and the development of agricultural e-commerce in China has been (a) truly eye-opening (for them).”
Hence, the participants returned home with a deeper understanding of the successes and challenges in this area, inspiring the implementation of innovative strategies (Farmer + Farmer Cooperatives' + Company Business Model) to foster growth and progress in the agricultural sector.
More importantly, the seminar initiated a stronger bilateral cooperation between the Philippines and China in the agricultural sector, paving the way for potential future collaborations to further boost the development of farmers' cooperatives in both countries.
The seminar was held from July 12 to August 1 in Wuxi, China.