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Re: Enabling rural cooperatives and producer organizations to thrive as sustainable business enterprises

FSN Forum Team FAO, Italy
FSN Forum

Contribution posted on behalf of Danilo Beloglavec

Dear John and Janos,
Thank you for the invitation for an online discussion. First I would like to congratulate for the good idea to bring forward the idea of rural cooperatives. I am sure that the consultants will analyze the answers of the questionnaires. I want to submit here only three points that are not new.
1) My personal view is that the most important factor that the coops can succeed and become sustainable is the human factor. If the personal interests of the administration, board members,staff and members are not compatible with their personal ambitions no rules, subsidies or training can substitute it. Unfortunately an efficient manager wants to be well rewarded. If not he has to mismanage (steal), find another job or create his enterprise that will very often compete with his previous coop.
2) The members have to have a real advantage from their coop. Only in that case they will not sell their best products to private enterprises and the second class to the coop. Naturally the coop has to pay in time and not 9 to 15 months late.
3) The management has to improve the productivity and quality of their members. In this since during my time with FAO wery little was done and many donor sponsored large scale projects were not sustainable without outside help and benefited the donor industry and larger scale farmers in developing countries.
I know that is nothing new, and is easier to write model coop rules, legislation an new workshop than to find products that are requested by the market at a standard quality and a competitive price.
Best regards
Danilo Beloglavec
Former FAO Senior Development Officer