Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The Church "has always supported the model of cooperatives" in agriculture, because they give "due priority" to the human dimension of work and provide "an alternative view to that determined from internal and international measures which seem to have the sole objective of making a profit, defending markets, the non-nutritional use of agricultural products, the introduction of new production techniques without the necessary precautions".
This is Benedict XVI's message to the Director-General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), José Graziano da Silva, on the occasion of World Food Day, which is celebrated today on the theme: "Agricultural cooperatives, key to feeding the world. "
The Churches' support for cooperative activity, the Pope explains, is motivated by the fact that it " is not limited to mere economic growth but contributes to human, social, cultural and moral growth of all those involved and the communities they are part of". They also "are a concrete expression not of a sterile complementarity, but of a real subsidiarity, a principle that the social doctrine of the Church sets as the foundation for a proper relationship between the individual, society and institutions."
Entering today's theme, Benedict XVI maintains that "it is not only a question of supporting co-operatives as an expression of a different form of economic and social organization, but to consider them a true instrument of international action. The experience of many countries shows, in fact, that cooperatives, as well as boosting agricultural output, enable farmers and rural people to intervene in decision-making and also a powerful tool for the integral development of which the person is both the foundation and end goal".
"In a world searching for appropriate interventions to overcome the difficulties caused by the economic crisis and to give an authentically human meaning to globalization - said the Pope - the experience of cooperatives represents well that new type of economy at the service of the person, capable of promoting forms of sharing and generosity that are the fruit of solidarity and fraternity respectively (Caritas in Veritate, 39). For this reason it is essential that public authorities operating at national and international levels put the necessary legislation and funding in place so that rural cooperatives can be effective tools for agricultural production, food security, social change and a broader improvement of living conditions. In this new context, it is desirable that the younger generation can look with renewed confidence to their future maintaining bonds to working the land, the rural world and its traditional values. "