The acting Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, emphasizes that the cooperative movement is the representation of the social economy of Spain and a backbone of the rural environment.
The acting Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, has closed the Assembly of Agri-Food Cooperatives of Spain, where he has encouraged cooperatives to increase their dimension to respond to the challenges of the future, so that they can be at the head of the agri-food sector.
For the minister, it is essential that cooperatives advance in the path of integration to respond to the social economy, but market, and the challenges of globalization.
Planas has stressed that the cooperative movement, the backbone of the rural environment, is the representation of the social economy of Spain and has highlighted its ethical values: solidarity, democratic regime and social vocation.
As noted, the cooperatives represent two thirds of the value of the Final Agricultural Production in Spain and almost 30% of the value of the net sales of the agroindustry. In addition, Spain is the second EU country in number of cooperatives, after Italy, and fifth in turnover.
It has also indicated its social importance, since it associates about 1.1 million members, generates more than 102,000 direct jobs and has a strong commitment to the development of the territory. In short, they contribute to invigorate and strengthen the rural environment.
Evolution of cooperativism
Planas has highlighted the evolution of the cooperative movement in the last ten years, since it is advancing in the integration process while increasing its social and economic impact. For the minister, it is the model that has best resisted the crisis and considers that this trend towards greater integration must be consolidated and intensified.
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and FoodPrecisely, the minister believes that significant progress has been made with the law of cooperative integration, but considers necessary to take a step forward in the integration, as a larger dimension will help cooperatives to face with greater guarantees to a more globalized market. For this, it will be necessary to modernize the productive processes, through the new technologies of information and communication.
For the minister, the Spanish agri-food sector needs competitive, better-sized and internationalized business structures, without renouncing the social character of the economy and the model fostered by cooperatives.
It has also emphasized the importance of increasing the presence of young people and women in agricultural cooperatives, especially in their social bodies and in managerial and management positions. As stressed, on these two groups lies largely the vitality and dynamism of the rural environment we want.
Regarding young people, the minister has advanced that in the 2018 campaign – the Ministry will publish the data shortly – the supplementary aid to young farmers has tripled, exceeding 51 million euros, a "clear boost to the incorporation of young people into the agrarian activity ".
Planas has referred to the collaboration protocol signed between the Ministry and Agrifood Cooperatives for the development of activities to improve competitiveness, especially those involving modernization, integration, quality, R + D + i, internationalization and promotion.