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A delegation of 12 representatives from eight cooperatives from Argentina led by ICA President Ariel Guarco visited India and Vietnam between February 17-21. President Guarco, who belongs to the Federation of Electric Cooperatives and Public  Services (FEDECOBA) and the Cooperative Confederation of Argentina or COOPERAR, was elected as President by the 2017 ICA General Assembly.  President Guarco and other representatives of Argentinian cooperatives were part of the High-Level Government of Argentina mission led by H.E. Mauricio Marci, President of Argentina.


President Guarco was greeted by the elected board members of the Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative (IFFCO) featured among the top-listed cooperatives in the World Cooperative Monitor 2018, on February 17 and was facilitated by ICA board member Mr. Aditya Yadav and hosted by IFFCO MD Dr. U.S. Awasthi.  ICA President visited the ICA-AP office on February 18 and was received by the Regional Director Mr. Balasubramanian Iyer and the Asia Pacific staff, where he was joined by representatives from international organizations like the International Labour Organization Country Office (Mr. Satoshi Saski and Mr. Kelvin Sergeant, Decent Work Team), the European Union Delegation to India & Bhutan (Mr. Pattabiraman Subramanian) and ICA-AP Women Committee (Dr. Nandini Azad, Chairperson). The President was apprised of the status of ICA programming and membership in the region during the meeting where he briefly shared the vision for the ICA in the decade to come.


President Guarco at the ICA-AP office   


The Indian movement is united by the National Cooperative Union of India (NCUI) in New Delhi, where President Guarco was received by the NCUI President and ICA-AP Vice President Dr. Chandrapal Singh Yadav and Chief Executive Mr. N. Satyanarayana, along with high ranking delegates from national cooperatives across the business and service landscape of India. NCUI represents 850,000 cooperatives across all business sectors in India, and serves the movement through a robust education and training arms. The President also welcomed ICA’s newest member, Uralungal Labour Contract Cooperative Society established in 1925 in Kerala (India), that was represented by its chairperson Mr. P. Rameshan and CEO Mr. Raveendran Kasturi among other directors during the meeting. The almost three hour session witnessed President Guarco and other cooperators introduce their respective cooperative organizations and highlight key success indicators and challenges, while interacting on ways to work closer and strengthen cooperatives globally. The President urged all present to reach out to him as he identifies as a grassroots cooperator for whom people came first! He then encouraged all to participate in the upcoming ICA General Assembly from October 14-17 in Kigali, Rwanda on the theme : Cooperatives for Development.


With  leaders of cooperatives at the NCUI Headquarters in New Delhi


The Indian leg of President Guarco’s visit culminated in Mumbai where he met with the  leadership and management of ICA members National Federation of State of Cooperative Banks (NAFSCOB),  the National Cooperative Agriculture Rural development Banks Federation (NAFCARD), and the  Buldana Urban Credit Cooperative Society.   


President Guarco and the delegation visited the Vietnam Cooperative Alliance (VCA) and its member cooperatives on February 20 and 21. They were received by Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Bao, President of VCA, who in his opening address, informed that at the end of 2018, there were 22,200 cooperatives in which over 50% were covered by the agricultural sector and the remaining served the non-agricultural sector such as industry and small handicraft, construction, transportation, trading, healthcare, IT, environment etc. Dr. Bao and President Guarco discussed and evaluated development trends, challenges and scope of cooperative economy in the world and in Vietnam.  Dr. Bao also extended an invitation to the President to attend and grace the ICA-AP Registrars’ Forum from April 17-19 in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam. On his first visit to Vietnam, President Guarco took the opportunity to closely interact with cooperators and heard stories of their successes, challenges and the aspirations of Vietnamese cooperatives, and hoped that VCA will be able to attend the ICA Global General Assembly and other meetings from October 11-17, 2019 in Kigali, Rwanda.  VCA and ICA signed the Meeting Minutes of two organizations while agreeing on the needs and cooperation opportunity in training, trade promotion and update information