EP pilot project: Support for Farmers’ Cooperatives" Final report
European Commission- November 2012
Wednesday 6 March 2013, by Carlos San Juan
The imbalances in bargaining power between the contracting parties in the food supply chain
have drawn much scholarly attention but have also been closely examined by policy makers. The
European Commission is committed to facilitate the restructuring of the agricultural sector by
encouraging the creation of voluntary agricultural producer organisations. DG Agriculture and
Rural Development has launched a large study, “Support for Farmers’ Cooperatives” (hereafter:
SFC), to provide background knowledge that will help farmers organise themselves in
cooperatives as a means to consolidate their market orientation and so generate a solid market
income. The specific objectives of the study are the following:
1. To provide a comprehensive description of the current level of development of cooperatives
in the European Union. This description will pay special attention to the following drivers
and constraints for the development of cooperatives:
a. Economic and fiscal incentives or disincentives and other public support measures at
the regional and national levels;
b. Legal aspects, including those related to competition law and tax law;
c. Historical, cultural and sociologically relevant aspects;
d. The relationship between cooperatives and the other actors of the food chain;
e. Internal governance of the cooperatives.
2. To identify laws and regulations that enable or constrain cooperative development.
3. To identify specific support measures and initiatives which have proved to be effective and
efficient for promoting cooperatives and other forms of producer organisations in the
agricultural sector in the European Union.