ROME, ITALY — The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on July 9 that it has opened a new liaison office for cooperatives and producer organizations in order to revitalize the organization's collaboration with these organizations worldwide.

The opening comes a few days after the International Day of Cooperatives, celebrated on July 7.

"We are confident that this liaison office will allow cooperatives and producer organizations to have a stronger voice as FAO's key partners in ending hunger and poverty," said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva at the opening ceremony, which was attended by representatives of the International Cooperative Alliance and the World Farmers Organization.

"Cooperatives and producer organizations have a key role to play in bringing about a future without hunger," he said. "Standing alone, a smallholder has fewer opportunities. When farmers get together, they have better condition to negotiate of price and better access to assets and services such as information, communication, input and output markets, natural resources, from local to international levels."

FAO in partnership with producer organizations and cooperatives will continue to encourage governments to establish favorable policies, legal frameworks, economic incentives and participatory processes in which agricultural and food cooperatives as well as producer organizations develop and become strong, equitable and efficient enterprises.

In 2011 alone, more than 180 FAO programs and projects in over 100 countries in the world, helped to build and strengthen the capacities of producer organizations, cooperatives and local community groups to reach their organizational goals.

A revamped website on FAO partnerships including producer groups and cooperatives is now online.