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DEVELOPING and SUSTAINING FARMER ASSOCIATIONS: THE CANADIAN EXPERIENCE Bill Turner Chengdu, Sichuan January 13-14,2005.

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Presentation on theme: "DEVELOPING and SUSTAINING FARMER ASSOCIATIONS: THE CANADIAN EXPERIENCE Bill Turner Chengdu, Sichuan January 13-14,2005."— Presentation transcript:

1 DEVELOPING and SUSTAINING FARMER ASSOCIATIONS: THE CANADIAN EXPERIENCE Bill Turner Chengdu, Sichuan January 13-14,2005

2 January 2005World Bank Workshop2 DEVELOPING FARMER ASSOCIATIONS IN CHINA n Much has been written about the need to develop farmer associations n Research on the present state of FA’s in China has been conducted n There are different definitions of what a farmer association is Pilot projects are underway

3 January 2005World Bank Workshop3 DEVELOPING FARMER ASSOCIATIONS IN CHINA n Legislation is being developed n Approaches vary by province and region Some farmers are skeptical about collective action The Challenge: How to develop and sustain farmer associations

4 January 2005World Bank Workshop4 OBJECTIVE OF THIS PRESENTATION n To outline the policy framework that has encouraged and empowered farmers to form sustainable associations in Canada

5 January 2005World Bank Workshop5 FARMER ASSOCIATIONS The Canadian Context n An integral part of Canadian agriculture A group of farmers working together to achieve shared objectives Perform specific functions -Economic/technical, advocacy, local development, information Formal and informal

6 January 2005World Bank Workshop6 FARMER ASSOCIATIONS Different Organizational Forms n Associations -Perform advocacy functions -Non political, Usually not for profit -Formally incorporated n Co-operatives -Economic and social functions -A form of business organization -Formally incorporated n Corporations- shareholder owned

7 January 2005World Bank Workshop7 ORGANIZATIONAL FORMS Associations n Advocacy: product promotion, market development, co-ordination, standards, certification, research, policy development n Commodity/resource and general focus

8 January 2005World Bank Workshop8 ORGANIZATIONAL FORMS Associations n First tier is local or provincial Examples: Pulse Growers, Flax Growers, Seed Growers, Organic Growers, Soil Conservation Association, Ag Producers of Saskatchewan

9 January 2005World Bank Workshop9 ASSOCIATIONS -continued n Often are part of national federations -Canadian Seed Growers -Canadian Federation of Agriculture n The “farmers’ voice” in industry groups -Canadian Seed Trade Association -Dairy Council of Canada -Canadian Agri-Food Research Council

10 January 2005World Bank Workshop10 ASSOCIATIONS -continued n Some informative websites -Ag Producers of Saskatchewan -Canadian Pork Council -Canadian Seed Growers’ Association -Western Grains Research Foundation

11 January 2005World Bank Workshop11 ORGANIZATIONAL FORMS Co-operatives n Economic functions: farm inputs and services, marketing services, financial services (loans, savings), processing, retailing -Owned and controlled by members -Operate to earn a profit -Reinvest in local infrastructure -Distribute profit to members

12 January 2005World Bank Workshop12 CO-OPERATIVES -continued n Co-ops are part of larger federations -Federated Co-operatives Ltd. Owned by 300 local co-opsOwned by 300 local co-ops -Credit Unions (finance) -Canadian Co-operative Association n Large processing co-ops -Dairy and Poultry n Large grain marketing co-ops have almost disappeared

13 January 2005World Bank Workshop13 CO-OPERATIVES -continued n Websites -Federated Co-operatives (retail) -Gay lea Foods (dairy) -Lilydale Foods (poultry) -Canadian Co-operative Association

14 January 2005World Bank Workshop14 ORGANIZATIONAL CHARACTERISTICS n Independent of government n Exist as legal entities n Local organization is the foundation of larger provincial or national associations (i.e. bottom-up approach)

15 January 2005World Bank Workshop15 FACTORS INFLUENCING DEVELOPMENT n Market or government failure n Presence of development agents n Existence of a legal framework n Supportive policies and programs n Social / cultural conditions n Access to capital / credit

16 January 2005World Bank Workshop16 DEVELOPMENT AGENTS n Work closely with farmers -Identify needs and opportunities -Provide encouragement & guidance -Gather and share information -Allow farmers to make the decisions – it is their association! n This is how development begins

17 January 2005World Bank Workshop17 DEVELOPMENT AGENTS n Agents include -Government & university personnel -Community & religious organizations -Other associations & businesses n Farmers must trust agents to act in their best interests n This is a challenge for government

18 January 2005World Bank Workshop18 LEGAL FRAMEWORK n Gives associations the power of a legal person Enter into contractsEnter into contracts Take ownership of assetsTake ownership of assets Obtain credit, raise capitalObtain credit, raise capital Limits liability of membersLimits liability of members

19 January 2005World Bank Workshop19 LEGAL FRAMEWORK n Defines the ownership and governance structure of the association Member rights & member controlMember rights & member control powers of boards of directorspowers of boards of directors financial reportingfinancial reporting auditing standardsauditing standards CapitalizationCapitalization

20 January 2005World Bank Workshop20 LEGAL FRAMEWORK n Protects the public interest As a “legal person” must adhere to the country’s lawsAs a “legal person” must adhere to the country’s laws Registration of charter requires annual filing of documentsRegistration of charter requires annual filing of documents Guards against formation of “false associations”Guards against formation of “false associations” Provides consistency in the development of associationsProvides consistency in the development of associations Consistency offers more effective use of resources that support associationsConsistency offers more effective use of resources that support associations

21 January 2005World Bank Workshop21 LEGAL FRAMEWORK n Recent trends in Canadian legislation Harmonization between national and provincial governmentsHarmonization between national and provincial governments Close consultation with the affected sector on the drafting of legislationClose consultation with the affected sector on the drafting of legislation Legislation provides a “framework” and not a recipeLegislation provides a “framework” and not a recipe Emphasis on articles and bylawsEmphasis on articles and bylaws Member rightsMember rights

22 January 2005World Bank Workshop22 SUPPORTIVE POLICY FRAMEWORK n A legal framework is necessary but not sufficient n Need a hospitable policy framework n Largely a government function -requires a delicate balance between being “supportive” and being “controlling” n Governments can partner to deliver programs

23 January 2005World Bank Workshop23 SUPPORTIVE POLICIES AND PROGRAMS n Extension personnel that work closely with farmers to assist in forming associations n Training programs for farmers on how to govern their associations n Training programs for people who wish to become managers of associations

24 January 2005World Bank Workshop24 SUPPORTIVE POLICIES AND PROGRAMS n Development of training materials n Start up assistance Funds to assist with planning / feasibility studyFunds to assist with planning / feasibility study Access to professional adviceAccess to professional advice n Access to Capital Crown lending agenciesCrown lending agencies Credit UnionsCredit Unions Loan guaranteesLoan guarantees n Support for third party Development Groups Sask Council for Community DevelopmentSask Council for Community Development Regional Development AssociationsRegional Development Associations

25 January 2005World Bank Workshop25 SUPPORTIVE POLICIES AND PROGRAMS n Formation of partnerships with farmer associations or industry groups Example: Canola Council of CanadaExample: Canola Council of Canada

26 January 2005World Bank Workshop26 SUPPORTIVE POLICIES AND PROGRAMS n Partner with groups or associations outside of government to deliver training and professional services to farmers and farmer associations Canadian Farm Business Management CouncilCanadian Farm Business Management Council Centre for Agribusiness Training and EducationCentre for Agribusiness Training and Education UniversitiesUniversities

27 January 2005World Bank Workshop27 SUSTAINABLE FARMER ASSOCIATIONS n A consistent source of revenue n Well trained, professional management n Effective and committed leadership n A strong identity n Tangible member benefits

28 January 2005World Bank Workshop28 KEY LEARNINGS FROM THE CANADIAN EXPERIENCE n The “bottom up” approach works best n Development is slow to start n Work with farmers at their level and in their community n Establish a trust relationship n Start with something that is manageable n Use a methodical, step by step process to start

29 January 2005World Bank Workshop29 THE START UP PROCESS (Canadian Approach) n Identify the opportunity Examine the marketExamine the market Do a “needs assessment”Do a “needs assessment” n Clarify the functions for an FA n Create awareness among farmers Meetings, written material, media, etc.Meetings, written material, media, etc. n Work with a small group of trusted leaders to develop a proposal and gain consensus

30 January 2005World Bank Workshop30 THE START UP PROCESS n Do a “pre feasibility” study Research economic aspectsResearch economic aspects Create initial budgetCreate initial budget n Build consensus among larger community of farmers Communicate proposal to farmersCommunicate proposal to farmers Set up Steering Committee from among the farmers who are interested in participatingSet up Steering Committee from among the farmers who are interested in participating

31 January 2005World Bank Workshop31 THE START UP PROCESS n Do more in depth research Full feasibility studyFull feasibility study Detailed business planDetailed business plan Determine organizational structureDetermine organizational structure n Conduct membership drive Sign up membersSign up members Raise capital, secure financingRaise capital, secure financing n Establish legal entity

32 January 2005World Bank Workshop32 THE START UP PROCESS n Hold first annual meeting Elect officersElect officers n Hire manager and staff n Acquire necessary facilities & equipment n Begin operations

33 January 2005World Bank Workshop33 THANK YOU


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