The Business Consortium among Family Farming Cooperatives aims to integrate Family Farming Cooperatives as a network, State-level, with the objective of creating an inter-relationship between the cooperatives and the market, in an organized and effective way. It seeks for an arrangement between them, which allows increasing the scale and regularity of supply of their products into the market, also enables small organizations to reduce costs and increase the income of farmers associated with the cooperatives.

The practice occurs in the city of Curitiba, with the participation of 10 cooperatives, involving farmers and consumers in 14 neighborhoods. With the accomplishment of 15 marketplaces and 01 permanent Famer's Market, next to one urban bus terminal of Curitiba, each fair is responsible for the daily commercialization of 10 tons, offering the population good quality products with an affordable price (R$ 1,99 /Kg).

 

A - General information 

 

START: March, 2013.

EXECUTING ENTITY: EMATER - PR - Paranaense Institute of Technical Assistance and Rural Extension) and Curitiba City Government – Department of Supply - SMAB Curitiba.

CO-EXECUTING ENTITIES: Cooperativa de Processamento Alimentar e Agricultura Familiar Solidaria de São José dos Pinhais (Copasol – Município de São José dos Pinhais-PR), Cooperativa dos Produtores Rurais de Contenda (Cootenda – Município de Cotenda - PR), Cooperativa Agroindustrial da Lapa (Coopersui – Município da Lapa - PR), Cooperativa da Agricultura Familiar Integrada de Cerro Azul (Coopafi – Município de Cerro Azul – PR), Cooperativa Agroindustrial do Litoral Paranaense (Cooativa – Município de Morretes – PR), Cooperativa Agroindustrial de Produtores de Corumbataí do Sul – (Coaprocor – Município de Corumbataí do Sul – PR), Cooperativa dos Fruticultores de Nova América da Colina (Nova Citrus – Município de Nova América da Colina – PR), Cooperativa dos Agricultores Familiares de Campo Largo (Cooperlargo – Município de Campo Largo- PR), Cooperativa Agroindustrial dos Agricultores Familiar da Colônia Castelhano (Coocastel – Município de São José dos Pinhais – PR), Cooperativa Agrícola Familiar de Colombo (Cooacol – Município de Colombo – PR).

PARTNERS: Ministry of Agrarian Development (MDA), State Secretariat of Agriculture and Supply (SEAB), Paraná Supply Centers (CEASA-PR).

PRESENTED BY: José Custodio Canto Guimarães Junior.

RESOURCES: Own and third parties

VALUE RANGEBetween USD 15,000 and USD 25,000.

CATEGORY: Project.

MAIN THEMATIC AREA: Social and Productive Inclusion.

KEY WORDS: Consortium, Ater, City Government, Consumer and Market.

TARGET AUDIENCE: Family Agriculture Cooperatives and Producers Associated to Cooperatives , City Governments and the Final Consumers.

GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE: Municipal.

SPECIFIC AREA OF DEPLOYMENT: Peri-urban area. Initiative developed in Curitiba, involving pre-established spaces on the streets of 14 neighborhoods. I includes a downtown square and an urban bus terminal.

  

B - Description of the practice

 

1- BACKGROUNG

The integration and union model used by the cooperative system consists of the so-called central cooperatives, where three or more individual cooperatives unite and form a new cooperative (central cooperative). This central cooperative must complement the activities of the others, as the purchase, sale and agro-industrialization of their products.

Family Farming Cooperatives found it difficult to meet the demands of the public calls from government programs for the purchase of food (PAA – Programa de Aquisição de Alimentos/Food Acquisition Program and PNAE – Programa Nacional de Alimentação Escolar/National School Feeding Program), especially in larger cities, because of the demand for products diversity and volume.

Another fact to be considered is related to the difficulties to access the market in general, restricted by a lack of logistical structure for the reception, preparation and distribution of the products.

The farm products offered in the neighborhoods' local market, due to the factors already mentioned, had higher costs and lower quality.

  

2- GENERAL OBJECTIVE

Establish a consortium that integrates Family Agriculture Cooperatives in a network. The aims to create a relationship between cooperatives and the market, in an organized and efficient manner, in a way that it is possible to meet the institutional and conventional markets demands.    

Specific objectives:

  • Increase the range and frequency of the products offering in the market;

  • Improve the competitive efficiency of Cooperatives;

  • Improve the distribution logistics and reduce costs;

  • Make small organizations viable;

  • Promote and coordinate the interaction among organizations;

  • Create conditions so that the Cooperatives can industrialize fruit and vegetables;

  • Reduce the high rates of losses in marketed products;

  • Reduce movement in the transport of fruit and vegetables;

  • Improve the quality of the products;

  • Make small farms viable with the cultivation of fruits and vegetables;

  • Provide more affordable products.

 

3 - SOLUTION ADOPTED

The Curitiba City Government, through the Department of Supply (SMAB), organized the project "Our Fair". The main objective of this project is to promote the marketing of fruit and vegetables in quantity, quality and affordable prices to the population.

Considering the difficulties family farmers or family farming cooperatives face when acting alone – especially those related to product logistics –, the SMAB has sought support from EMATER - PR to facilitate the sales procedures and allow that, in the future, family farming cooperatives can meet the demands of government programs as well (PAA and PNAE).

For the elaboration of the final proposal, several meetings and discussions were held in the search for a consensual proposal among the parties (SMAB, EMATER - PR and Family Farming Cooperatives). The alternative found was the establishment of a consortium composed of 10 cooperatives – eight of them from municipalities close to Curitiba and two from to other regions of the state.

The integration was legally formalized by the signing of a "Partnership Contract" in which objectives, rights and duties were defined, as well as responsibilities, competences and other relevant elements. A Cooperative was elected the "Anchor" to represent, manage and operate the Consortium.

In this alternative, the Cooperatives do not lose their own business relationships as they continue to have their customers. However, they begin to have other commercial options for the positioning of their products through the consortium actions at fairs and sacolões, and by serving the customers more directly.

 

4 - RESULTS ACHIEVED

Among the most significant results obtained so far, there are the following available elements: 

  • The integration of 10 cooperatives for the trading of the production in the consortium of the metropolitan region of Curitiba;
  • The organization of 15 fairs in several districts of the city of Curitiba and one permanent sacolão (a kind of Brazilian grocery store in which it is sold farm products, mostly), located at an urban terminal;
  • The daily trading of 10 tons of food per fair;
  • Provide the population good quality products at an affordable price (R$ 1.99 / kg);
  • Profitability achieved by producers between 30% to 40% in relation to the price in the CEASA;
  • Customers savings of about 40% to 45% in relation to the price of products in supermarkets;
  • Admission of 60 new members in the participating cooperatives;
  • In Anchor cooperatives there has been an increase from seven to 48 employees;
  • A 20% increase in the areas cultivated by the producers associated to participating cooperatives;
  • There has been a growth of 30% to 40% in the quantity of products sold;
  • Average participation of 1000-1200 consumers per promoted fair.

      

5 - REQUIRED RESOURCES

For the development of the project, EMATER - PR made available a multidisciplinary team, composed of experts in cooperativism, in vegetable and fruit growing, as well as field technicians to assist the producers.

The City Government has made available a team of technicians with expertise in street markets and equipment (tents, scales, boxes and others) so that cooperatives could be part of them.

The so-called Anchor cooperative received support from CEASA - Curitiba through the assignment of spaces upon the payment of the social fare (2 stands) to facilitate the logistics of receiving, preparation and distribution of products as well as trucks for transport to the sales sites. Some participating cooperatives undertook to organize the transportation – including the boxes for the products accommodation – to the CEASA.

Basically, the resources required to meet the proposal were:

Human Resources: 02 managers, 03 experts in vegetable and fruit farming, and a field technician;

Material Resources: Microcomputers, personal materials, fuel and others.

Infrastructure: Infrastructure 02 light vehicles, 05 trucks, physical space - Ceasa (02 stands for the reception, preparation and distribution of products) and the Curitiba City Government - availability of sites (15 streets and 1 Bus Terminal) for the the fairs to be held within the urban area.

 

6 - TRANSFER

This project is being held in Curitiba. It is already established and very well accepted, especially by the involved parties. In other words, the rural extension, the city government, the participating cooperatives and, in particular, the consumers interact to obtain the sales results achieved in the street markets – about 10 tons of products traded per street market and a flow of 1000-1200 consumers.

This project and organization model is intended to be disseminated to different regions of Paraná State, mainly in medium or densely-populated cities (São Jose dos Pinhais, Colombo, Londrina), involving interested local government and cooperatives of farmers.

 

7 - LESSONS LEARNED

Several were the lessons learned in this practice. Among them, those which most contributed to the project's success were:

  • The partnership between EMATER - PR and the Curitiba City Government;
  • The integration and union of involved cooperatives, the participation of CEASA in the assignment of a physical space for reception, preparation and distribution of production;
  • The support of the SEAB and MDA in institutional projects and programs and the dedication of all the technicians involved.

After almost three years of the propose deployment, it is possible to identify the level of satisfaction of the participating cooperatives and consumers with the quality of the products offered and the price charged.

Among the main obstacles the ones to be highlighted are:

  • Initial lack of confidence among the participating cooperatives for not knowing the consortium system;
  • Difficulties in conciliating financial interests;
  • Unavailability of products to be supplied, especially fruits.

 

8 - ORIGINALITY OF THE PRACTICE

This is a unique initiative in the region where the project is being implemented.

 

 

  

The fairs and the Ceasa unit are available for scheduled visits, with no limited number of participants or specific days. The fairs are held on a daily basis from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm and at terminals and famers market from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm.

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