Seeing is believing for visiting Ukrainian farmers

OTTAWA (March 30, 2017) - A delegation of Ukrainian farmers is kicking the tires on agricultural co-ops in Quebec and Ontario. It's all part of a week of discovery as they see how the co-op approach can benefit their grain enterprises in Ukraine's Dnipropetrovsk Oblast.

In Ontario, the group's many stops include Agris Co-op and Great Lakes Grain in Chatham, Agrico fertilizer storage outside London, an Agromart retail operation in Wellburn, and the Donkers' dairy goat farm in Shedden. In Quebec, they will visit Comax, La Coop Fédérée, grain and dairy farms, and a farm machinery co-op on their journey to learn more about how they can manage and grow their nascent co-op enterprises.

At the scales of a Great Lakes Grain elevator in Thamesford, Ontario.
The visitors include members, board members and the managers of two co-ops in Ukraine -  Zernovyi Co-op, which will soon launch commercial operations of its co-operative grain storage facility, and Zerno-BUNK Co-op, which operates in Bobrynets Raion. The grain project manager in Ukraine is also among the visitors.

The grain elevator and the co-ops' development have been supported by the Ukraine Grain Storage and Marketing Cooperatives Project, a consortium of  SOCODEVI, the Canadian Co-operative Association and IRECUS, with funds from the Canadian Government.

"We are pleased to welcome this group of highly motivated farmers and co-op representatives to learn more about the day-to-day operations of grain co-ops in Canada," says CCA Executive Director Michael Casey. "We hope that along the way they will be better able to envision what their co-op can achieve."

Co-op members, project staff and volunteers, national and regional Ukrainian authorities, and Canadian officials visit the Zernovyi Co-op elevator in December 2016.

"This project is a proud part of the rebirth of co-operative agriculture in Ukraine," says project manager Sergii Kurdytskyi. "Seeing co-operatives in action here in Canada helps strengthen our belief in the future success of the two grain co-ops and the entire co-operative movement in Ukraine."  The visitors fly home this Sunday. 
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The Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) is a not-for-profit co-operative which establishes and strengthens co-operatives, credit unions and community-based organizations to reduce poverty, build sustainable livelihoods and improve civil society in developing countries.   

The Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada (CDF)
is a registered charitable organization that works to alleviate poverty by building and strengthening financial and non-financial co-ops in Canada and around the world. CDF works with the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) and other organizations to implement development projects on its behalf.   

SOCODEVI is a network of cooperative entreprises and mutuals that share their technical expertise and knowledge with partners in developing countries to create, protect and distribute wealth.

The Institute for Research and Education for Cooperatives and Mutuals of the Université de Sherbrooke (IRECUS) conducts multidisciplinary research on the management, governance, and development of cooperatives and mutuals in response to the needs of cooperators, their organizations, and their communities. The Institute also offers a unique full-time graduate program in Sherbrooke, Quebec.