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Monday, July 7, 2014

07/07/2014: Bio e Mare a women's fisheries co-operative

Saturday July 5 was the International Day of Cooperatives. 

Cooperatives play a key role in family and small-scale farming and contribute to food security and the eradication of hunger. 

As the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) underlines, family-based agriculture, especially small-holder operations, can realize their potential by building cooperatives which allow them to have better access to markets and financing, better bargaining power, improve efficiency and innovate. Also, cooperative enterprises are adequate platforms for family farmers to develop social infrastructures based on ethical principles such as democracy, gender equality, concern for the community and the environment, among others.

For Radoslava, known to everyone as Rady, "cooperatives are like families, everybody helps out to get the job done". Rady adds that Bio e Mare works as a team with local fishers and also collaborates with two local cooperatives, the Scirocco and the Maestrale, "like two families that help one another".  

She points out that one of the fishermen, Giuseppe Maffei, known as Beppe, who also helps out with the deliveries alongside his son, accompanied her to FAO for the Family Farming Expo, highlighting the close collaboration between the fishers and the cooperative.

Bio e Mare is composed of women between the ages of 21 and 50 who come from Italy, Brazil, Colombia, Bulgaria and Poland. As Rady points out, the international element enriches the cooperative, "it unites us instead of separating us, each woman brings something different to the table, a new recipe or idea.

"For example, Bulgaria is famous for sweet and sour dishes, something which is not particularly known here in Italy", she adds. 

Reinventing tradition is central to this innovative cooperative.

 Bio e Mare was founded in 2011 in Marina di Carrara (Tuscany); it was the first women's fisheries cooperative in Italy and has gone from strength to strength since its establishment. It is the only cooperative in Europe that salvages unsold fish directly from fishers, by processing it into creams, sauces, pickled fish and much more. Any additional ingredients are certified organic ensuring high quality and, above all, healthy products.

Read more HERE.

 The Aquaculturists
This blog is maintained by The Aquaculturists staff and is supported by the magazine International Aquafeed which is published by Perendale Publishers Ltd.

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