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7th ASEAN Cooperative Business Forum (ACBF)
Pan Pacific Hotel, Malate, Manila, Philippines
15-17 January 2018

Statement of Commitment

We, the representatives of the ASEAN Member States, together with representatives
of agricultural cooperatives, farmers’ and fishers’ organizations, development
partners, and civil society organizations, gathered during the 2018 ASEAN
Cooperative Business Forum in Pan Pacific Hotel, Malate, Manila, Philippines with the
theme “Cooperatives: Members’ owned, Value-based, Sustainable and Advancing
Prosperity For All Through Coop to Coop Partnerships”;

Recognizing that Southeast Asia is home to 640 million people, with a combined
average of 53% living in rural areas, though in some ASEAN countries such as in
Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar, the rural population is from 60-80%;

Witnessing also that the people in the rural areas of Southeast Asia mainly rely on
agriculture for a living, with a farm size of 2 hectares or less, and that farming is
primarily a family endeavor;

Deploring that while there is remarkable economic growth in the ASEAN region,
yet there are inequalities as we still witness massive hunger and poverty in the rural
areas, affecting mostly family farmers/fishers/indigenous peoples, , even if they are
the ones who produce food for the region and for the world; and are now
threatened by violent extremism and serious climate disasters

With a firm conviction, we envision to have a fair and just society where
small scale men and women farmers and their families:

• are free from hunger and poverty, are happy and in good health, and live in
peace and prosperity;

• have rightful access and control over the lands they till and other basic
productive resources; nurture their farmlands through appropriate, integrated
and environment-friendly agricultural practices and technologies, get fair
market and prices for their products, and have control over their goods and
services; and,

• are self-reliant, educated and able to participate in development processes
through politically strong, socially responsive, culturally sensitive and
economically viable farmers’ organizations and cooperatives.
In moving forward, we will unite to act in building and strengthening,
farmers’ organizations and agriculture cooperatives in the ASEAN region

a. Expand trading transactions between and among agri-cooperatives
and partners through various Memoranda of Agreement or
b. Continue to showcase products of farmers’ organizations and
agriculture cooperatives through the conduct of the Cooperative
Trade Fair Exhibits in each country and at the regional level;
c. Enhance capacity building of agricultural cooperatives through
programmatic learning exchanges on commodities of common
interests, starting with coffee, in close coordination and consultation
with the ASEAN Sectoral Working Group on Agricultural Cooperative
(ASWGAC), private sector, academia and ASEAN Secretariat;
d. Call for institutionalized participation of farmers organizations and
agricultural cooperatives in ASWGAC and ACEDAC.
e. Engage the ASEAN Sectoral Working Group on Agricultural
Cooperatives (ASWGAC), ASEAN Center for the Development of Agri
Cooperatives (ACEDAC), ASEAN Sectoral Working Group on Social
Forestry, ASEAN Sectoral Working Group on Crops and the
International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) towards the formulation,
lobbying and final adoption and the effective implementation of the
ASEAN Roadmap on Agricultural Cooperatives;
f. Engage other relevant ASEAN sectoral working groups such as on
crops, on social forestry, to promote partnerships with farmer
cooperatives engaged in value-adding endeavors for farm and forest-
based products;
g. Enhance more coop-to-coop collaborations, policy forums, learning
exchanges, social dialogues as well as other areas for cooperation
among stakeholders through Memorandums of Agreement,
Memorandums of Understanding and concrete business ventures;
h. Document contributions of agri-cooperatives in the Gross Domestic
Product of each country and the over-all United Nations’ Sustainable
Development Goals of ending poverty and hunger, promoting
sustainable production and consumption, gender equality, inclusive
and democratic institutions, and partnerships.

Signed on the 17th day of January 2018 in Manila, PHILIPPINES.