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 12: Transformation, inclusiveness and tensions of cooperatives: synthesis and further research

Jos Bijman, Roldan Muradian and Jur Schuurman


This synthesis chapter discusses the issues that are at the core of the academic discourse on the transformation of cooperatives in developing countries. The first is about inclusion or exclusion of particular groups of farmers. This issue has gained significance because cooperatives-as-businesses are more likely to be selective in allowing farmers to become members. The second issue relates to the inherent tensions in cooperatives and how these are affected by the transformation process. For instance, the classical trade-off between equity and efficiency seems to become more pronounced when cooperatives focus on economic functions and entrepreneurial activities. The third issue is about the institutional environment of the cooperative and what conditions determine the type and extent of support from governments, NGOs and other facilitating organizations. The chapter ends with suggestions for further research on cooperatives and POs in developing countries.

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