Cooperatives, can in certain regions be used to strengthen and improve the seed sector. To establish seed production activities in a certain area, where there are no large farms, there is a need to work with groups of farmers.
Cooperative stores and input-supply
A cooperative is a group of farmers with a common interest and ability to make the necessary investments for storage of seed and purchase the inputs (e.g. pesticides).
The store is a pre-condition for proper management and implementation of seed activity.
At first the seed activity in the cooperative would be directed to seed production for its own members and to table potato production. The cooperative can however develop into a specialized seed production unit.
As a first step seed often is produced for the members of the cooperative, but in a later stage it could well be that the seed unit of the cooperative builds its reputation and becomes the seed supplier for other farmers.
The advantages of working with cooperatives are:
- the existing leadership structure can be used
- the cooperative can organize technical assistance
- the cooperative can obtain loans much easier than small individual farmers can
- the cooperative is in a position to buy the necessary inputs (e.g. clean seed, agro-chemicals)
- the cooperative can enforce a crop rotation system
- the cooperative can develop a marketing structure