Pope says farm co-ops can protect values while feeding people

Farm co-ops can provide the world with an "alternative vision" to government or international agriculture policies that place too much emphasis on profits, protecting certain markets or employing new technology that could prove dangerous, Pope Benedict XVI said.

The pope made his comments in a message marking Tuesday's celebration of World Food Day, a commemoration sponsored by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization to highlight the global fight against hunger and the need to help farmers and farm workers.

The theme of the 2012 celebration was: "Agricultural Cooperatives: Key to feeding the world."

The cooperatives, Pope Benedict said, are an alternative to policies that "seem to have as their sole objective profit, the defense of markets, the non-food use of agricultural products (and) the introduction of new production techniques without the necessary precaution."

The pope did not get specific about non-food uses, such as growing crops for bio-fuels, or whether the new techniques he referred to include genetically modified crops.

Christmas-NCR-gifts-half_0.jpgGive a subscription to our award-winning newspaper and save $10.

He said agricultural cooperatives can be important ways for local people to control their own work lives and respond to local needs for employment and food security. At the same time, he said, they are a means to bring people together, value the contributions of individuals and promote the common good of a group.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization's goal of eradicating poverty, Pope Benedict said, requires a commitment from the international community, individual governments and men and women inspired by solidarity and a desire to increase people's participation in decisions that have an impact on how food is grown and distributed.

"Agricultural cooperatives are a concrete example because they are called to create not only adequate levels of production and distribution, but also a more general growth of rural areas and the people who live there," the pope said.

Pope Benedict said cooperatives also are a practical example of what Catholic social teaching means when it encourages "subsidiarity": making decisions at the simplest, most decentralized and most local level possible.

The pope also used his message to offer a special greeting to those living in situations "where conflicts or natural disasters" have destroyed agricultural production and where, in many cases, "women are called to direct the activity of the cooperatives, maintain family ties and safeguard the precious elements of rural know-how and methods."

Support independent reporting on important issues.

 One family graphic_2016_250x103.jpg


NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at Disqus.com/verify.
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

Commenting is available during business hours, Central time, USA. Commenting is not available in the evenings, over weekends and on holidays. More details are available here. Comments are open on NCR's Facebook page.



NCR Email Alerts


In This Issue

July 14-27, 2017