Co-operatives and producer organisations

Written by: torfi | Category: CAA
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An a recent article in the Newsminer Nancy Tarnai discusses the role of cooperatives in the developement of Alaskan agriculture. She starts by stating that "[i]mproving Alaska’s food security through agricultural efforts is complicated. There’s a lot more to it than planting, cultivating and harvesting; including considerations about economic indicators, cultural systems, social interactions, business concerns and consumer preferences." A very valid observation indeed, from a European perspective, where coops were the drivers for agricultural development in most countries. 

Further on Julie Emslie, project leader of the Fairbanks Economic Development Corp., is quoted: “Our farms here are small,” she explained. “To sell outside the farmers markets or a CSA (community supported agriculture) is difficult. Co-ops are tools that are used in other parts of the country.”While it’s hard for individual farms to deal with storage, processing, marketing and distribution issues, if the farmers work together, the systems will be more affordable. “We are looking at a way to sell collectively,” Emslie said. “The coolest thing about the co-op is that it will be farmer owned. A co-op removes the middle men from the equation; the farmers will have direct say.”

On the other side of the Atlantic, EU has adopted a new set of regulations for its Common Agricultural Policy 2014-2020 (CAP). One of the important elements of the new regulations is improved support to producer organisations. The legal framework extends the possibility for collective bargaining (in some sectors) and delivery contracts (for all sectors) to Producer Organisations, their Associations and Inter Branch Organisations and also introduces temporary exemption from certain competition rules (e.g. market withdrawal or storage by private operators) in periods of severe market imbalance, subject to safeguards (for overview of the most important changes of the new CAP click here).

Published: 2/17/2014  
 Revision: 1 | Views: 41158