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The Asian Productivity Organization (APO) organized a workshop on Emerging Roles of Producers’ Associations and Farmers’ Cooperatives (FCs) in Dhaka, 23–27 April 2017. The workshop aimed to acquaint participants with emerging trends in agriculture and the changing roles of producers’/farmers’ associations (FAs) and FCs with the development of smart agriculture. Twenty-three participants from 13 countries and international resource persons from India, Japan, and the Republic of Korea attended, along with two local experts from Bangladesh.
FAs/FCs take many forms, playing pivotal roles in agricultural development and serving as conduits for technical and financial assistance from various institutions. Such organizations face new challenges with the aging of farming communities, labor shortages in rural areas, and fluctuations in agricultural commodity prices. It was thus appropriate to reexamine the roles of FAs/FCs to ensure that they remain relevant to the needs of their members and clientele, contribute to long-term farm productivity and profitability, and promote inclusive growth in APO member countries. Topics covered ranged from smart agriculture, to supporting small farmers in adopting sustainable smart agricultural practices, to current best practices in managing FCs/FAs.