Basic economics of an agricultural cooperative

This self study manual was published by ILO as a MATCOM Learning Element in 1984. It introduces the core economic principles that underpin the operation of farmers’ marketing and supply co-operatives. All farmers need to buy "inputs" for their farms - things like seeds and fertilisers - and at harvest time, they want to sell their produce. Forming an agricultural cooperative can be an effective way for farmers to ensure they receive the services they require in terms of input supply and produce marketing. Some agricultural co-operatives offer very good services to their members. Others do well at first but soon get into trouble. Marketing and supply services can be provided effectively only if the cooperative leaders understand the "economics" of running a co-operative business. If they do not, the cooperative will soon find itself out of business. In the lessons that make up this manual, readers will first learn about the marketing business and how it works from an economic point of view. Then they will go on to supply services and the importance of the net surplus. Finally, three case studies are provided to show how problems can arise and what actions can be taken to avoid or overcome them. In the document section, there is a summary of the core principles, a poster and a set of questions to help readers assess how well they have understood the points being made.

Copyright © 1984 International Labour Organization 

Web edition (revised) Copyright © 2006 Food and Agriculture Organization

Resources

resource title type year resource
"Check out!" Test Questions on the Basic Economics of Agricultural Cooperatives Document 1984
This resource appears in: Basic economics of an agricultural cooperative

A set of multiple choice and discussion questions to help you check how well you have understood the basic economics of an agricultural cooperative.

Author MATCOM
Region / Country Global
Keywords Self-Assessment
A Summary of the Basic Principles of Operating a Marketing or Supply Cooperative Document 1984
This resource appears in: Basic economics of an agricultural cooperative

A brief review of the key economic principles explained in the self study manual "The Basic Economics of an Agricultural Cooperative". A useful checklist and revision note.

Author MATCOM
Region / Country Global
Keywords Cooperative, Marketing, Input Supply
Lesson 1: Marketing Services Lesson 1984
This resource appears in: Basic economics of an agricultural cooperative

The objective of this lesson is to explain the basics of how a cooperative can provide a marketing service for its members and how it works as an economic enterprise.

Author MATCOM / ILO
Region / Country Global
Keywords Cooperative Development
Lesson 2: Supply Services Lesson 1984
This resource appears in: Basic economics of an agricultural cooperative

The objective of this lesson is to explain the basics of how a cooperative can provide a supply service for its members to purchase the inputs they need, and how this works as an economic enterprise.

Author MATCOM / ILO
Region / Country Global
Keywords Cooperative Services
Lesson 3: How to Use the Net Surplus Lesson 1984
This resource appears in: Basic economics of an agricultural cooperative

The objective of this lesson is to examine the reasons for making a net surplus in a cooperative and how members can decide on the best use for it. A net surplus is equivalent to a profit in a non-cooperative business.

Author MATCOM
Region / Country Global
Keywords Cooperative Services
Lesson 4: Avoiding Problems Lesson 1984
This resource appears in: Basic economics of an agricultural cooperative
Author MATCOM
Region / Country Global
Keywords Cooperative Services
Plan for Success: a poster for agricultural cooperatives Document 1984
This resource appears in: Basic economics of an agricultural cooperative

A poster which highlights the importance of making a net surplus and how a cooperative can make improvements in its marketing and supply services.

Author MATCOM
Region / Country Global
Keywords Cooperative, Capital Management

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