Sustainable Development Banner
Rural organizations


Land tenure

Public institutions

Rural organizations







About SD

Rural organizations

Rural organizations (member-run and financed rural cooperatives, agricultural producer and rural workers associations, rural credit unions, women and youth associations and other self- help groups) are important forms of rural social capital that empower collective self-help action that makes rural development happen.

Acting through their own organizations, small-scale rural producers and workers and the poor access inputs, markets and government services more efficiently aimed at improving their livelihoods and undertake other self-help action to improve their communities. Government and NGO agencies also reach more people and deliver services more effectively. But there are socio-political advantages as well. Through groups, rural people elect their own leaders, mobilize their own resources to improve their livelihoods and their communities and learn the value of cooperation. This reduces the risk of conflict and contributes to the improved local governance and the growth of more stable and democratic institutions serving the interests of rural people.

The Sustainable Development Department assists governments' own efforts to promote decentralization, foster farmers' and rural people's organizations and strengthen their capacity to participate, at local, regional and national levels, in defining and implementing rural development policies and programmes, as well as in the sustainable management of natural resources.

Assistance, in the form of policy advice, guidelines and training materials, is provided in the three major areas:

  • Rural cooperative development: policy advice and training on cooperative reform, cooperative business management, cooperative finance and business information systems

  • Self-help group development: assistance and training on group formation , enterprise management, savings and inter-group associations

  • Promotion of partnerships with rural organizations, NGOs and government to improve information exchange and cooperation for achieving sustainable rural development and food security

Browse this theme:
Click here for all documents under this theme

Rural organizations

Browse this theme by keyword:

Cooperative finance
Farmers associations
Private sector organizations
Rural development strategies
Rural finance
Self-help groups
Small enterprise development

SD Homepage Back to Top FAO Homepage