How are agricultural co-operatives making a difference in Brazil?

04 Jul 2017

A new report by the International Co-operative Agricultural Organisation (ICAO) looks at the state of agricultural co-ops in Brazil. The paper explores the role of the Organisation of Brazilian Cooperatives (OCB) in fostering a close relationship between co-ops and the Ministry of Agriculture.

Referred to as the “breadbasket of the world”, Brazil gets 50% of its food from the country’s 1,543 agricultural co-operatives. The co-operative sector employs 361,000 people while 6.2% of Brazilians are associated with a co-operative. Over 70% of the country’s food consumption is domestic. Furthermore, co-ops are responsible for more than USD $5.2bn in exports.

The OCB was founded in 1969 as the national trade body for co-ops. The organisation develops strategies and runs co-operative local organisations in each one of the 27 states in Brazil.

OCB provides smallholders members of co-ops with machinery and equipment as well as financial support through rural credit unions. While farmers focus on cultivating superior products, OCB member co-ops manage the logistics to ensure maximum quality.

Another role of the OCB is to lobby for legislation favourable to the co-operative sector and various action of the federal government has directly benefited co-ops. These include the permission to set up free accession co-operatives, permission to set up co-operatives of two or more categories for professionals or business groups and measures to enable credit co-operatives to operate at rural level.

One co-op making a difference in the semi-arid region of Rio Grande do Norte is Mossorró. The co-op offered agro-ecological technical assistance to members, helping them to grow crops in a sustainable manner. In addition, the co-operative channelled its efforts into improving water supply and is now providing treated water to more than 3,000 families across the regions. Learn more about other co-ops from ICAO’s report.

Photo: producers from Cooperacre, an agricultural co-op in Brazil.

LATEST COOPERATIVE NEWS

17 Dec 2020

Every year, the European…

17 Dec 2020

In 2020 we celebrated the 125th anniversary of the…

16 Dec 2020

ICA President Ariel Guarco has published a book on the…

16 Dec 2020

In September, the board of Mountain Equipment Co-op (…