Cooperatives offer many advantages as a model for development of specialist agri-food businesses in rural areas. They allow groups of people to work together and build expertise, and are large enough to compete with private and multinational businesses. Here we report research that was carried out in Wales, UK, and which sought to identify the characteristics of rural, agri-food cooperatives. The empirical research highlighted significant rural conflicts, cooperation difficulties and failure which we document and theorise next. The research isolated select few issues that impede rural cooperation and highlighted factors that need to be in place for a rural, agri-food cooperative to be sustainable and successful and for cooperation to flourish. Rural cooperation problems and difficulties that were identified included weak loyalty, distrust, opportunistic and ‘devious’ behaviours on the part of members and other stakeholders. Lack of professional management, inadequate marketing and branding expertise were also distinguished as key determinants of the high failure rate of start-up cooperatives in Wales. Cooperatives which did not involve trading operations, such as knowledge transfer organisations, business clubs and show societies, appeared more sustainable and resilient.
|Title of host publication||Rural Cooperation in Europe|
|Subtitle of host publication||In Search of the 'Relational Rurals'|
|Place of Publication||London|
|Number of pages||17|
|ISBN (Print)||9781137348883, 9781349467778|
|Publication status||Published - 4 Nov 2014|