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Inclusive engagement and shared prosperity are common goals among APO member countries. However, poverty among small farmers remains a common problem in the Asia-Pacific, and mutual cooperation is important to solve it. They are also confronted by the effects of climate change on agriculture and shifts in consumer food demand.
In Japan, agricultural cooperatives have developed assistance systems that provide information on farm management conditions, harvest traceability, soil analysis, and Good Agricultural Practice conformity. They are also gradually introducing innovative technologies and smart machinery such as GPS-guided tractors, controlled-environment greenhouses, and livestock management robots.
In an effort to assist small and medium agricultural producers, a workshop on Innovations in Farmers’ Cooperatives and Producers’ Associations was organized by the APO and Japan Productivity Center to promote the concept in member countries. Held from 9 to 11 November with the support of two resource persons from Japan and one from India, it was attended by 25 participants from 12 countries. The workshop introduced innovations by farmers’ cooperatives and producers’ associations to make small and medium producers in the agrifood sector more competitive and enhance their productivity. Ways to improve operations and expand the roles of farmers’ cooperatives/producers’ associations were also discussed by sharing initiatives for mutual assistance, joint purchasing of agricultural inputs, sharing of equipment and postharvest facilities, and combining harvest sales.