COMING TOGETHER TO ADDRESS COMMON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL NEEDS
A producer co-operative is a business entity owned and controlled by other businesses, often small and medium enterprises like family farms. It enables businesses to band together to find strength in numbers. Below we document two types – producer co-operatives and enterprise co-operatives (or purchasing co-operatives).
For detailed information about farming, fishing and agriculture co-operatives, visit the Co-operative Farming website.
A producer co-operative is a business entity owned and democratically controlled by producers who band together to process or market their products. An example is a dairy co-operative, which enables farmer members to process their produce and access markets collectively, giving them better bargaining power and increased prices for their goods. The co-operative is the key market for the members’ products, and is owned by the members who sell or buy its products and services.
Producer co-ops, which can also be called marketing co-ops, have existed in Australia for a long time. The first known producer co-operative in Australia was a dairy co-operative in New South Wales founded in 1880: the South Coast and West Camden Co-operative. A problem for farmers at the time were the “middle men”, who combined together informally to drive down returns for farmers at no benefit to consumers. The co-operative worked instead to deliver fair returns to farmers at fair market prices for customers.
An enterprise co-operative (also known as a purchasing co-operative) is a business entity formed to purchase and supply goods and services at competitive conditions in the interest of members, who own and control it equally. An example is a wholesaler for independent retail outlets, which purchases goods in bulk and sells them to members, giving them better bargaining power and lower prices for the goods they need for their business.
Purchasing co-ops, which can also be called wholesale co-operatives, have been formed by plumbers, the automotive industry and others to obtain supplies at lower prices due to the power of group buying. Other services may be available to members, including marketing, finance, training and travel. Other types of wholesale co-operatives include agricultural, grocery, liquor, seafood, travel agents, furniture, hairdressing, toys and newsagents.
Almondco Australia supplies premium quality almond products to the world. It processes and markets the crops of more than 80 per cent of Australia’s almond growers. Almondco is grower-owned and operated and produces more than 100 different almonds varieties.
Year established: 1944
Type: Producer Owned
Australian Travel Agents Co-operative (ATAC) is a co-operative buying group in the Australian Travel Industry. Its foundations are built on transparency, superior buying power and equal sharing of its group proﬁts. For over 30 years, ATAC has been a national co-operative with its members its only shareholders, working together for the prosperity of all.
Year established: 1987
Type: Producer Owned
Industry: Purchasing and Supply Services