I spent several years working with the University of California, Davis as Project Director for the USAID El-SHAMS project in Egypt.
Many farmers organizations/associations/cooperatives were developed and nutured during the life of the project, and we got the chance to go back to Egypt in 2009 to reasssess the outcomes and long term impacts.
Here is a case study we developed with some lessons learned. Overall we found that the farmer associations "need longer term technical assistance for improved organizational development, to establish and maintain good business practices, manage links with buyers, and to learn to properly manage and maintain their postharvest facilities" in order to be successful over the long term.
Dr. Lisa Kitinoja
The Postharvest Education Foundation
PO Box 38, La Pine, Oregon 97739 USA
Website homepage: www.postharvest.org
Linking Smallholder Horticultural Farmers with Lucrative Export Markets
Project name: Agricultural Exports and Rural Incomes - Enhanced Livelihood from Smallholder Horticultural Activities Managed Sustainably (AERI- EL SHAMS)
Years of operation: 2003-07
Country and region: Upper Egypt
Purposes: To increase rural income in Upper Egypt by building the capacity of small and medium sized farmers to improve their production, processing and marketing of horticultural products. To enhance the livelihoods of smallholders in Upper Egypt by enabling them to participate in the high-value export chain for fruits, vegetables and medicinal and aromatic plants.
Implementer(s): CARE, UC-Davis, ACDI/VOCA, NVG and EQI
Link to the final evaluation report which contains the case study:
BMGF Appropriate Postharvest Technology Project (WFLO 2009-10)
Read more about the facilitators
Related links and resources:
FAO's website on cooperatives and producers organisations
World Food Day
Good practices in building innovative rural institutions to increase food security
Agricultural cooperatives: paving the way for food security and rural development (Brochure)
My.Coop - Managing your agricultural cooperatives
The Group Promoter's Resource Book
The Group Enterprise Resource Book
The Group Savings Resource Book
The Inter-Group Association Resource Book
New Strategies for Mobilizing Capital in Agricultural Cooperatives
Computerizing Agricultural Cooperatives: Practical Guidelines
Cooperatives: Has their Time Come or Gone?
Agricultural cooperative development - A manual for trainers
Capital Formation in Kenyan Farmer-owned Cooperatives: a case study