New Policy Note on Agricultural Cooperatives in Africa

The EDC initiative

More than 50% of the agricultural commodities produced in developed countries are marketed through cooperative organizations. Farmer Organizations and Agricultural Cooperatives are also widespread in Africa, but their market shares remain negligible throughout this continent.

Why are FOs and agri-coops failing to become viable agro-enterprises in Africa?

This policy note, by CIAT (CGIAR), University of Missouri and OCDC, bridges agribusiness theory and empirical development research to offer new insights and solutions to public/private decision-makers promoting smallholder entrepreneurship in Africa.

The future of agricultural cooperatives (agri-coops) in Africa depends on whether their leaders and managers will be able to anticipate the organizational problems that may arise over time, and take the necessary precautions to ensure that member farmers remain focused and united. This note is the end product of the research and outreach activities carried out during the first year of the EDC project (July 2014–July 2015), which included:

  • An extensive review of recent (last decade) literature on African agricultural cooperatives;
  • The organization of two multi-stakeholder workshops (in Addis Ababa and Washington DC);
  • Two case studies about a large coffee coop in Tanzania and a large maize coop in Senegal;
  • Analysis of data on 500 small and multi-commodity coops from Ghana;
  • The presentation of preliminary findings at three international conferences (International Cooperative Summit-Quebec, ICA-Paris, and IAAE-Milan) and various local seminars across Africa; and
  • A review process based on the feedback provided by the OCDC members1 and Oxfam-GB.


Policy Note on Agricultural cooperatives in Africa

Copyright © 2016, CTA. Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation

CTA is a joint institution operating under the framework of the Cotonou Agreement between the ACP Group of States (Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific) and the EU Member States (European Union). CTA is funded by the European Union.