Agricultural Cooperatives


Agricultural cooperatives help farmers gain market power by joining together to market their crops, increase their bargaining power by achieving economies of scale, processing their commodities to add value, and purchasing supplies and services. Benefits and profits from the cooperative are distributed equitably to member farmers based on the use of the cooperative.

Cooperatives are user-owned and user-controlled businesses, and many of their products have been mainstream items on supermarket shelves for years. Curacao has approximately five (5) agricultural cooperatives.

Marketing, supply, and service cooperatives are the most common agricultural cooperatives worldwide. Marketing cooperatives assemble, pack, process, and sell members’ products in domestic and foreign markets. By joining together, producer members have assured a “home for their product” and don’t have to be concerned with securing needs individually.

Supply cooperatives purchase products and services for their members. By making large-scale purchases of seeds, fertilizers, pest control products, etc., members can obtain the best product price. Service cooperatives provide members with specialized services, such as business management, herd management, and horticultural advice, which are often not economical for an individual farmer to obtain.

The following characteristics distinguish Agricultural Cooperatives from other types of businesses:

  • Farmer-members own them.
  • The farmers who own and use the business also control it democratically. Members elect a board of directors that sets the overall operating policies, approves the annual budget, and oversees professional management. Professional management implements procedures established by the Board and handles day-to-day operations.
  • The cooperative distributes economic benefits to members based on the member’s use of the cooperative (e.g., if more product, more economic gain).
  • Cooperatives provide benefits to producer-members as users, not as investors. Cooperative members as co-owners members share in business operating costs, expansion, and unforeseen emergencies.