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National status-quo reports on Collective Farmers Marketing Initatives in Switzerland

Bahrdt, Katja; Sanders, Jürn and Schmid, Otto (2006) National status-quo reports on Collective Farmers Marketing Initatives in Switzerland. [Encouraging Collective Farmers Marketing Initatives Project Report D 3.2.] Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau (FiBL) CH-Frick.

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Summary

In general, data and scientific information on farmers’ cooperatives are very rare in Switzerland. There is no official statistic that collects the number and types of existing cooperatives in Switzerland. In view of the little information interviews with experts and an internet search has additionally been conducted.
Collective actions of farmers have a long tradition in Switzerland. The earliest forms of collective actions in agricultural can be traced back to the management of common land and forest areas in early Germanic times. Like in most other European countries, the cooperative movement emerged in the second half of the 19 th century in Switzerland and experienced a rapid diffusion. Due to the protectionistic agricultural policy and guaranteed prices and incomes after the Second World War, only few farmers put much effort in building up / developing further selfhelp structures. The recent policy changes provide a new basis for cooperative actions. However, new collective initiatives are to a lesser extent a selfhelp measure, but rather a business strategy to improve the competitiveness of individual farms.
Nowadays, there are a wide range of different collective farmers’ marketing initiatives. The importance of these initiatives various greatly and depends highly on the commodity. They play for example a very dominant role in the milk, cereal and oilseed sector. In contrast to this, collective farmers’ marketing initiatives are less dominant in the meat, vegetable and fruit sector. In total, five different forms have been identified as the main ones in Switzerland. These are: independent producer cooperatives, united cooperatives / federations of producer cooperatives, producer pools, producer interest groups, regional marketing initiatives. Each form was described by a case example. From the Swiss perspective, the following key criteria seem to be appropriate for a classification of collective actions of farmers: actors involved in the initiative (are nonfarmers also members/shareholders/partners), degree of involvement/collectivity, relationship to other supply chain actors, aims and activities of the initiatives.
Collective initiatives are particularly a suitable approach for the Swiss mountain area, which are characterised by their natural and cultural heritage. Since consumers are willing to pay higher prices for authentic quality food, such products produced by COFAMIs may successfully compete on the market against cheap products from agroindustrial companies. However, in order to increase the production of high quality food (organic products, PDG/PGI, etc.) in Switzerland, it would be necessary that more agricultural products are exported.
Currently, there are two programmes which offer funds for specific collective actions. The future direct payment policy, however, could have a strong impact on the attractiveness of collective actions of farmers. If the production of food becomes economically less important than the provision of public goods and services, the necessity for collective action will rather be reduced.


EPrint Type:Report
Keywords:Sozio-Ökonomie, Betriebswirtschaft, Cofami, collective actions of farmers, organic agriculture, Switzerland, collective farmers marketing initiatives
Subjects: Food systems > Policy environments and social economy
Farming Systems > Farm economics
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Socio-Economics
Related Links:http://www.fibl.org/forschung/soziooekonomie/index.php
Deposited By: Bahrdt, Katja
ID Code:13383
Deposited On:10 Apr 2008
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:37
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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