These are among the main findings of the study presented today by the European Commission during the Comagri meeting.
The study finds that the main objectives of recognised POs and APOs are common across sectors and include: production planning, adapting to demand; concentration of products; and placing of products on the market. While these organisations can take different legal forms, agricultural cooperatives are the most common and efficient tool to deliver on farmers’ needs, benefiting different agriculture sectors.
Pekka Pesonen, Secretary General of Copa and Cogeca, underlined after the presentation: “Agri-cooperatives are an advanced tool to respond to farmers organisational needs and position them to deliver on the Green Deal. They unite farmers around common economic, social and environmental goals. In order to improve farmers position in the value chain and support them in coping with key sustainability challenges, it is of paramount importance to support agri-cooperatives and farmers cooperation, especially in in an European context based on family farms and welcome the integration process. The existence of POs and their work create win-win situations for both farmers and consumers.”
The study indeed underlines important elements linked to the economic sustainability of the sector. Farmers cooperation can ensure higher market penetration and greater bargaining power with other actors of the food supply chain. They can also contribute to mitigating economic risks and costs by ensuring, for example, security of payments or sharing of investments.
Regarding technical incentives the study indicates that POs add value to producers, provide infrastructure for production, storage or processing. Finally, in regards to the social or human dimension, the study concluded that most farmers value the openness of POs towards new members and their democratic functioning, which helps consolidate and maintain trust in the organisation.
Copa and Cogeca welcome the conclusion of this study and call for further policy development at the European and national level to increase farmers cooperation.