Co-operatives as Business Models of the Future

By Thalif Deen

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 26 2012 (IPS) - When the International Year of Co-operatives (IYC) concluded last week, some of the overwhelming success stories highlighted at a two-day interactive session came both from developing and developed countries, including India, Brazil, China, Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Italy, France and the United States.

As Dame Pauline Green, president of the International Cooperative Alliance, pointed out, two of the largest domestic agricultural food businesses in India – the Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative (IFFCO) and the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (widely known as Amul) – are both highly successful cooperative business models.

Amul, which is owned by over three million small dairy farmers, mostly women, has helped elevate India as the world’s largest milk producer.

And last month, IFFCO partnered with Coop Federee, a major agricultural cooperative in Canada, to invest in a hefty 1.3-billion-dollar joint transnational cooperative venture for a fertiliser plant in Quebec.

In Brazil...

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(Hat-tip to Erbin Crowell, Executive Director, Neighboring Food Co-op Association)