Table of Contents

Cooperatives, Economic Democratization and Rural Development

Cooperatives, Economic Democratization and Rural Development

Edited by Jos Bijman, Roldan Muradian and Jur Schuurman

Agricultural cooperatives and producer organizations are institutional innovations which have the potential to reduce poverty and improve food security. This book presents a raft of international case studies, from developing and transition countries, to analyse the internal and external challenges that these complex organizations face and the solutions that they have developed. The contributors provide a greater understanding of the transformation of traditional community organizations into modern farmer-owned businesses. They cover issues including: the impact on rural development and inclusiveness, the role of social capital, formal versus informal organizations, democratic participation and member relations, and their role in value chains.

Chapter 1: The changing nature of farmer collective action: introduction to the book

Jos Bijman

Subjects: development studies, agricultural economics, development economics, economics and finance, development economics


This chapter argues that farmer collective action in developing countries is in a process of transformation. While traditional farmer organizations and cooperatives had social, political and economic functions, the new producer organizations (POs) are mainly focusing on improving the market access of their members. Providing market information, establishing quality control systems and improving logistics are some of the main functions of the new POs. As POs come in many kinds and sizes, the chapter first presents a typology, particularly distinguishing between market-oriented business organizations and other rural membership organizations. This chapter reviews the literature on the role of POs in vertical coordination, contracting and market access. Finally, it discusses the effects of the assumed transformation process on the inclusiveness of the organization, on the efficiency of the internal governance, and on strengthening member relations.