Vietnam Fatherland Front Nguyen Thien Nhan (second, right) and Vietnamese Ambassador to Italy Nguyen Hoang Long (first, right) attends the workshop (Photo: VNA)

The Italian region of Emilia-Romagna shared its experiences in developing cooperatives with a visiting delegation led by Vietnam Fatherland Front President Nguyen Thien Nhan on July 2.

At the workshop, Giovanni Monti – President of the Emilia-Romagna branch of the National League of Co-operatives and Mutuals (Legacoop) – said cooperatives in Italy date back more than 150 years ago and current generate annual revenue of 45 billion EUR (about 49 billion USD), accounting for 8 percent of the country’s GDP.

The Emilia-Romagna region currently houses 3,500 cooperatives operating in various fields such as agriculture, industry, construction, education, health care, and goods selling. They are members of Legacoop and receive supports from this league, but operate independently, he noted.

Palma Costi, an official of the region, said cooperatives play an important role in the regional economy, and many of them have become popular worldwide.

She added Emilia-Romagna, one of the wealthiest and most active regions of Italy, is promoting cooperation with Vietnam, especially Binh Duong province. It opened a representative office in this locality to enhance its businesses’ operations here.

At the function, major cooperatives of the Italian region like Coop Italian Food, Granarolo, Cefla and Cadiai shared their management and development experience and expressed their interest in boosting business partnership with Vietnam.

Vietnam Fatherland Front President Nguyen Thien Nhan said his country is a global leading exporter of farm produce and working towards sustainable agricultural development.

Despite that fact, it is facing difficulties in processing farm produce, build trademarks, and sell products, he said, noting the lax connectivity among the 10 farming households nationwide, hindering production and selling efficiency.

Nhan said the workshop was an opportunity for Vietnam to learn about the organisation and operations of cooperatives in Emilia-Romagna so as to help Vietnamese farmers improve their livelihoods. He hoped that the region will share experience and support Vietnam in creating food processing industrial parks in the time ahead.

The official also took this chance to present business potential in Vietnam, which owns abundant human resources with competitive labour costs, affirming that the Italian region could export its products to the Southeast Asian country – a market of over 90 million people.

At the workshop, a memorandum of understanding on cooperation was signed between the Vietnam Cooperative Alliance and Legacoop and Emilia-Romagna’s Union of the Chambers of Commerce.-VNA