Cooperatives in Agriculture have solutions for Climate Change

Today, Kees Blokland, General Manager of Agriterra, and Juan Lucas Restrepo, Director General of The Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, signed a Memorandum of Understanding online to join forces. 

Agriculture stands at the crossroads: it has to produce more food for a growing world population, secure decent income for farmers, including women and youth, while adapting to climate change, protecting biodiversity and reducing emissions and pollution. This requires the whole agricultural sector to become substantially more productive and sustainable.

The Alliance is happy to announce its partnership with Agriterra, an international specialist in cooperative development. Agriterra currently reaches nearly 700,000 farmers as it facilitates international cooperation among cooperatives to effectuate the required systemic change of increasing production and environmental efficiency. 

Climate-smart Cooperatives

Over the past year, Agriterra has implemented a targeted approach to select and strengthen cooperatives in their business development and link them successfully to financial institutions. Now there is need for an add-on to support cooperatives in becoming climate-smart. Agriterra and the Alliance decided to join forces in a strategic partnership to build on each others strengths, combining solid business development with scientific proven climate solutions.

“For cooperative business development and climate action on scale, the combination of the Alliance with Agriterra will change the game”, says Kees Blokland. 

The Alliance’s expertise on climate change and sustainable food systems offers cooperatives access to effective climate smart solutions. Agriterra’s cooperative network and business approach makes Agriterra a strong partner to scale up the roll-out climate smart approaches while working on economic strong businesses. By joining forces, both organizations maximize their impact in building resilience to climate change, mitigating negative impacts, and make farmers adapt in a way that it increases their agricultural productivity, economical sustainability and access to finance.

“It is not only working in the nexus of agriculture, food, and enviroment but it is really understanding that we need to address livelihoods equities and social justice. It is clear that this collaboration goes in this direction and the organizations complement each other”, says Juan Lucas Restrepo, Director General of the Alliance. 

Kees Blokland and Juan Lucas Restrepo during the virtual signing.

A joint concept has been developed for building a pipeline of bankable climate resilient cooperatives. Capitalising on each other’s know-how, expertise and track record, cooperatives will be provided with a complete and credible package of solutions from pre-investment design and co-development of sustainable business models to technical assistance to accompany their transition. “Co-developing solutions between public and private sector can make a considerable impact in improving the environment, biodiversity and social development,” says Gianpiero Menza, Private Sector and Sustainable Finance Officer at the Alliance. 

“Together we can build climate resilient, bankable cooperatives”, assures Harm Haverkort, Agriterra country representive Vietnam, and Godefroy Grosjean, Global Lead Advisory Services for Sustainable Finance. 

The Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT is a global research-for-development organization and works with multiple partners to deliver research-based solutions that harness agricultural biodiversity and sustainably transform food systems to improve people’s lives. The Alliance is a CGIAR center headquartered in Rome and brings together more than 1200 staff with operational presence in more than 50 countries and 30 country offices. 

Contact: Godefroy Grosjean, Global Lead Advisory Services for Sustainable Finance 

Agriterra is the international specialist in cooperative development. Agriterra works in more than 25 countries and support around 360 cooperatives and reach almost 1,18 million farmers worldwide, strengthening farmer ownership and stimulating economic growth of cooperatives with their expertise, built upon over a century of cooperative development experience. 

Contact: Harm Haverkort, Agriterra country representive Vietnam