The cooperative research team was formed in 2017 as a result of the converging interests of several researchers at the Department of Economics and Development of the Faculty of Tropical AgriSciences.
The research team's main long-term objective is to study the collective actions of small producers in developing countries with socialist historical backgrounds. The main focus is on profit-making cooperatives as tools for improving market access for small farmers. However, non-profit rural institutions and professional farmers' organisations are covered as well. Recently the main research activities include several countries of Eastern Europe – Albania, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine; Central Asia – Mongolia; and Africa – Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya and Zambia. The common historical background of the collapse of state-controlled cooperatives and their current revival by national governments is the central unifying factor for all involved countries.
The analysed research topics include the economic and social impact of the producer collective actions, the importance of leadership and social capital, determinants of motivation of farmers to join such groups, their impact on gender and youth in rural areas, adoption of Sustainable Agricultural Practices among members, and typology of various forms of farmers' cooperation. The topic of community-based decision-making, extension and sharing of information through farmers' networks are covered as well.
Following these specific research areas, our research team contributes to general topics related to (i) increasing transparency and competitiveness of markets to benefit small producers, (ii) offering greater income opportunities by integrating small-scale producers into upgraded value chains, (iii) strengthening the diversity of production systems at the local and regional level, and (iv) ethical and sustainable supply chains (mainly including the Fairtrade system). The research priorities are also framed by the EU policy of due diligence for supply chains (especially in the cocoa sector) and the European Green Deal strategy.
KEYWORDS: collective action • social capital • trust • cooperation • farmers associations • self-regulation • inclusive and sustainable supply chains • social economy • economic democracy
Where we operate: