NEWS

Cooperatives inactive

Farmers’ professional organizations are loose arrangements which remain inactive for many years, or act more as protest groups or community partners on various advisory boards for formulating and implementing agricultural policy. Their funds usually come from the farmers themselves through a percentage which producers pay on invoices for their products. As a result of serious mistakes made in the past 20 years, agricultural cooperatives are usually in a state of crisis. The need for such cooperatives is much greater in Greece than in most European countries, because small, scattered farms cannot deal with modern competition. The cost of producing, distributing and marketing a product is burdensome for a sole producer, and product prices do not correspond to that cost. Through cooperatives, producers are able to cut costs, and at the same time they acquire negotiating power and can set prices. Cooperatives have the potential to inform, train and fund farmers and, if they functioned properly, could offer services connected with the Common Agricultural Policy much faster and more efficiently than state agencies. In this way, cooperatives could help conserve the social fabric of the countryside.