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(L-R) The Ceremony is inaugurated by Dato’ Abdul Fattah Abdullah and Mr. Mongkalat Pukanat. Photograph credit: CLT

 

 

The Cooperative League of Thailand (CLT) celebrated its Golden Jubilee and 2018 International Day of Cooperatives (Sustainable Consumption and Production) Celebration by organizing a seminar and an exhibition of products developed by co-operatives.

 

The Seminar on, “ASEAN Cooperative Commodities forward to the Globe,” included keynote address and panel discussion. The keynote address was delivered by Dato’ Abdul Fattah Abdullah, President of ASEAN Cooperative Organization (ACO) and President of ANGKASA, Malaysia. The panel discussion featured Mongkalat Pukanat, Chairman of CLT; Prayoon Inskul Deputy Director General of Cooperative Promotion Department (CPD); and Balasubramanian Iyer, Regional Director, International Cooperative Alliance Asia and Pacific; and was moderated by Dr. Asanee Rattanamalai, Master of Rassamee International School.

 

The interest in developing trade among co-operatives in the Asia-Pacific region goes back to the 1960s and Thailand has figured prominently in this regard.  In 1974, based on the recommendations of Select Committee (1972) on Agriculture and Trade of ICA-AP, the International Co-operative Trading Organization (ICTO) was established in Singapore with investments from Australia, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Unfortunately, this initiative wound up in 1976 due to lack of member support. In the late 70s/ early 80s under an agreement between the JA-Zenchu and CLT an international trading plaza was set up in Bangkok to serve as a trading window for cooperatives. However, over time, as in the past, interest waned due to lack of member support.

 

The ASEAN Vision 2025 calls for a resilient, inclusive, people-oriented and people-centered community that engenders equitable development and inclusive growth. The ASEAN Economic Blueprint highlights the need to promote ASEAN agricultural cooperatives as a means to empower and enhance market of agricultural products, to build a network mechanism linking agricultural cooperatives, and to fulfill the purpose of agricultural cooperatives for the benefit of farmers in the region. This provides an opportunity for co-operative to engage and enhance co-operative to co-operative trade; strengthen engagement between ASEAN Secretariat and ACO; build value chains and the cooperative ecosystem; and promote the cooperative identity.

 

Speaking on the occasion, Dato Fatah Abdullah, Chairman Angkasa and ICA-AP Board member said that, “Co-operatives are agents of change, have commitment of members, and growing producer and consumer base. We need joint efforts to build the cooperative economy. Mr. Mongkalat Pukanat, Chairman of CLT, said that the Thai-ASEAN center and information hub has been created to act as a business hub to  help enhance business, trade, industry, and service as well as facilitate and coordinate in this area.

 

The exhibition provided an opportunity for co-operatives from Thailand and other ASEAN countries to display their products and network among themselves. Dato Fattah Abdullah and Mr. Pukanat jointly inaugurated the Thai-ASEAN co-operative products center in the CLT campus.