What we do

Working together

Farmers’ cooperation strengthens their position in the agri-food supply chain. By working together, producers can benefit from the economies of scale and synergies to process and market their products. Agri-cooperatives are businesses driven by values. They operate in a dynamic, competitive, concentrated and international market. Economies of scale and consolidation are key to their business performance, benefiting farming and rural communities and ensuring that the assets remain in the hands of farmer members.

Creating long-term benefits:

At each stage of their growth, agri-cooperatives respond to the needs expressed democratically by farmers and to community and societal demands. Driven by the principles of the International Cooperative Alliance, agri-cooperatives actively contribute to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs) by innovating and creating social, economic and environmental benefits.

Empowering farmers through cooperatives

Today 6 million farmers are members of 22,000 cooperatives that provide employment to 600,000 women and men. Agricultural cooperatives play a key role in improving the lives of millions of smallholder farmers and their families, boosting innovation in the sector, empowering their farmer members, and providing employment in rural areas.

What we believe

Democratic decision-making

We believe that agri-cooperatives are the most suitable and advanced tool to respond to farmers organisational needs. They are successful businesses that unite farmers around common economic, social and environmental goals. Their success or failure is based on their ability to serve their farmer members who decide democratically on the business’s development and trajectory, according to their needs and circumstances. They strengthen farmers and give them bargaining power in the negotiation process with downstream operators.

What we call for

Encouraging farmer collaboration

To strengthen farmers’ position in the food supply chain, we call on the European institutions to encourage the setting up and development of producer organisations and agri-cooperatives. It is of fundamental importance to promote farmers' cooperation by means of effective measures and financial support under the future CAP. Continuous investment and innovation are consequently needed to add value to produce and improve the effectiveness and competitiveness of agri-cooperatives, providing farmers with a better return.

Clarifying cooperation rules

The European institutions should promote collaboration between farmers. It is essential to recognise the role cooperatives play within the agri-food chain and avoid confusion deriving from the application of competition law. A cooperative is a group of individual farmers; it cannot be considered as a market intermediary, even if it brings together a large number of producers. Such clarification would provide producer organisations with workable and efficient rules. We need to fully implement the principle that the CAP takes precedence over competition objectives, as recognised by the European Court of Justice.