The significant role cooperatives play in the development of the agricultural sector will be the focus of this year’s World Food Day celebrations which will take place next week.

The theme for the 2012 celebrations is Agricultural Cooperatives: Key to Feeding the World and according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), this year’s theme was chosen to highlight the critical "role of co-operatives in improving food security and contributing to the eradication of hunger."

A cooperative is defined as an autonomous association of persons who come together voluntarily to meet common economic, social and cultural needs. They include non-profit community organisations and businesses that are owned and managed by and for their members, whether they are customers, employees or residents. They are also democratically controlled, so each member has one vote and they share the profits.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management has planned several activities to mark World Food Day, Tuesday, October 16, and encourage more farmers to join agricultural cooperatives.

The celebrations commence with a 5 kilometre Fun Walk on Saturday, October 13. It starts at the Bay Street Esplanade, St. Michael, and travels along Bush Hill,

Dalkeith Road, Brittons Hill, Culloden Road, Belleville, Belmont Road, Martindale’s Road, Jemmotts Lane and finishes at Bay Street. All Barbadians are invited to take part in the walk which starts at 6:00 a.m.

The following day Sunday, October 14, a service of thanksgiving will be held at Hawthorne Methodist Church, Rendezvous, Christ Church, starting at 9:00 a.m.

The highlight of the activities will be a Farmers’ Cooperative Expo/Plant Clinic on Tuesday, October 16, World Food Day. It will take place on the grounds of the St. George Parish Church, running from 11:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.

During the day, patrons will have the opportunity to purchase agricultural produce and goods, learn more about agricultural services and products, and how to care for plants, among many other activities.

Information will also be available on cooperatives through the Cooperatives Department of the Ministry of Commerce and Trade and several members of cooperatives will be on hand to showcase their work. All Barbadians are invited to attend the expo, particularly those from the surrounding districts.

Efforts to educate the youth will also be part of the activities. The Primary Schools’ World Food Day Theme Competition will see students from the parish of Christ Church using this year’s theme to develop a creative or culinary piece of artwork.????

Judging for the competition will take place on Thursday, October 11, and the winners will be announced accordingly.

Further details on celebrations for World Food Day may be obtained by contacting the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management, Graeme Hall, Christ Church, at 434-5000.

World Food day is observed annually across the globe to raise awareness and understanding of ways to end hunger.


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