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Group discussion sessions from the ILO C2C workshop

 

The ILO organized a technical meeting on Enhancing Cooperation and Trade between Co-operatives and other SSE organizations for decent work on June 12 at the ILO HQ in Geneva, Switzerland. ICA-AP participated through the ILO online platform and shared the history of trade related interventions of ICA-AP since the 1960s to the ICA-Expo 2012 (Bengaluru, India) and the creation of the ICA-AP committee on Co-operative Trade and Business in 2016. The workshop was fruitful in terms of sharing good practices, identifying challenges and opportunities on C2C trade and exploring areas for future action and collaboration.  Fairtrade International and World Fair Trade Organization highlighted their experience bringing in ethical and Fairtrade products from African, Latin American and Asian producer organizations. Coop Denmark presented the case of advancing direct trade with Kenyan coffee producer co-operatives by shortening the value chain, enhancing product quality and building export capacities for producer co-operatives. Coopermondo Italy brought out the case of export of pineapples produced by a Togolese youth producer co-operative to Italian consumer co-operatives in partnership with Italian co-operative banks. The co-operatives from Asia included ANGKASA Malaysia, JCCU, and iCoop Korea. The ILO Local Empowerment through Economic Development (LEED) unit from Sri Lanka also took part.

 

The main challenges faced by co-operatives in furthering C2C trade were: a.) regulatory constraints, b.) limited business literacy, c.) inability to meet phytosanitary and other requirements and d.) lack of market facilitation and institutional support mechanisms. The opportunities identified by the groups were: a.) replication and expansion of ongoing C2C initiatives, b.) enhancement in consumer awareness on responsible consumption and production, c.) increased collaboration among organizations like Fair Trade and co-operative representative bodies and d.) presence of tools and know-how on co-operative development and fairer supply chain practices. The participants agreed on an action-plan to institutionalize the network (of participants), create a platform for promoting C2C market linkages besides, and continue meetings targeted on specific goods and services.