Cooperatives, Economic Democratization and Rural Development
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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.
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Chapter 2: The progressive participation of rural producer organizations in the policy debate: lessons from the experience of West Africa

Denis Pesche and Bruno Losch


In West Africa, how to conceive a model of agricultural development – and, more widely, rural development – consistent with the structural realities of the region and the sub-continent, namely a workforce that continues to grow, with limited non-agricultural economic alternatives, in a context where the pressure on resources remains high and rural poverty is pervasive? In the West African agricultural sector, there is a growing array of organizations representing farmers and rural inhabitants. These rural producer organizations (RPOs) play an increasing role in the development of agriculture and rural policy, in conjunction with the private sector, NGOs and other stakeholders. How to better understand this increasing institutional complexity? How to strengthen RPOs in these processes? This challenge has both an academic and a practical dimension. After a brief historical overview of the emergence of RPOs, this chapter deals with these issues by presenting a comprehensive framework of the dynamics of RPOs and their networks, with concluding remarks on capacity-building strategies.

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