The agricultural structure in Turkey is dominated by family farms. It is characterised by small, highly parcelled land, whose competitiveness, despite high subsidies, is low by European standards. Cooperatives are regarded as an essential organisational model to strengthen the competitiveness of these small enterprises and to promote the necessary modernisation and market adjustment. Rural cooperatives have a long tradition in Turkey, but have repeatedly been used to implement state programmes. Only with the adoption of the Cooperative Strategy of 2012 did a change in perspective occur. Co-operatives and their associations are now more oriented towards the development of structures with private sector and market-oriented elements. For historical reasons, however, many cooperatives have considerable management weaknesses that hamper the targeted and efficient promotion of their members and their orientation towards global market conditions.
The union cooperation project aims to strengthen selected Turkish central and regional unions of agricultural cooperatives, improve the range of services offered to the members of the primary cooperatives and thus promote members’ interest in the cooperatives.
The project has a duration of three years (2019 – 2022). It is financed by the BMEL – German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture under the Bilateral Cooperation Programme.
The project works on two levels: At provincial level, regional unions are supported in the development and provision of practical services for their members. At the national level, the two central unions are developed to the extent that they can act efficiently as a link between the regional unions and political decision-makers.
The advisory activities include the development of a strategy for the national unions and support in its implementation. In addition, the central unions are advised on the development of joint cooperation structures in order to support their member organisations more effectively. At the regional level, the project offers direct advice, coaching and training in the development and implementation of training concepts and advisory services to experts and managers of the regional unions involved in the project. Further topics are strategic planning, accounting, product development, internal organisation and transparency, member support, networking and public relations.
Political partners of the project are the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture of the Federal Republic of German and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Livestock of the Turkish Republic.
The implementing partner on the German side is the DGRV.
Partner organisations on the Turkish side are the two central unions KÖY-KOOP (Central Union for Village Development) and HAY-KOOP (Central Union of Livestock Cooperatives) as well as their regional unions in selected provinces.
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