Farmer-controlled economic initiatives

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Agrodok 38 Farmer-controlled economic initiatives Starting a cooperative Reitse Koopmans © Agromisa Foundation, Wageningen, 2004. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form, by print, photocopy, microfilm or any other means, without written permission from the publisher. First edition: 2004 Author: Reitse Koopmans Editor: Janneke Reijnders Translation: Catharina de Kat-Reynen Printed by: Digigrafi, Wageningen, the Netherlands ISBN: 90-77073-92-2 NUGI: 835 Forew
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  Agrodok 38 Farmer-controlled economicinitiatives Starting a cooperative Reitse Koopmans    © Agromisa Foundation, Wageningen, 2004.  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form, by print, photocopy,microfilm or any other means, without written permission from the publisher. First edition: 2004Author: Reitse KoopmansEditor: Janneke ReijndersTranslation: Catharina de Kat-ReynenPrinted by: Digigrafi, Wageningen, the NetherlandsISBN: 90-77073-92-2NUGI: 835    Foreword 3 Foreword Many farmers’ organizations in developing countries see it as their task to support business initiatives, such as the development of an ag-ricultural cooperative or an agri-business owned and used for the benefit of their members. These business initiatives are undertaken inorder to create solutions for common problems, for example in the processing and marketing of primary agricultural products and ingaining access to credit.The organizations provide support by creating adequate conditions for the members to start and develop such a farmer-controlled economicinitiative or by actively pursuing the development of an economic en-terprise itself. In the latter case, the business should preferably be es-tablished as an individual legal entity and be operated under separatemanagement.Much has been written and published about the development of coop-eratives. However, many of these publications are rather academic.They are hardly or not at all accessible for farmers who are involvedin setting up a cooperative enterprise. With the publication of a practi-cal manual for the development of agricultural cooperatives, Agriterrawould like to introduce a new tool for agricultural organizations indeveloping countries. The manual can also be used as background in-formation or input for each AgriPool (see usefull adresses: Agriterra)mission aimed at setting up, developing and monitoring farmer-controlled economic initiatives.Cooperatives can be organized in different ways; there is no pre-scribed model or unique way that leads to success. This is because of the great variety in economic, institutional, social and legal conditionsamong various countries. The manual -therefore- cannot be more thana guide to support farmers’ groups through the difficult process of starting a cooperative business and to help them finding their way andmake their own choices in developing a successful enterprise.    Farmer-controlled economic initiatives 4   Contents 1   Introduction 6   2   What is a cooperative? 8   2.1   Description 8   2.2   Characteristics 8   2.3   Differences between cooperatives and other businessorganizations 11   2.4   Business principles and sustainability 12   3   Why farmers are interested in cooperatives 15   3.1   Advantages of cooperatives 17   3.2   Types of cooperatives 18   4   What is needed to form a cooperative? 20   5   Cooperative management 26   5.1   Organizational development 26   5.2   Development of an organizational structure 27   6   Statutes and by-laws 32   6.1   Statutes 32   6.2   By-laws 33   7   Finance 34   7.1   Distinctive features of cooperative finance 34   7.2   Sources of cooperative capital 35   8   Potential pitfalls 37   9   Guidelines for establishing a cooperative 39   10   Eight steps for cooperative development 40  
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