Armenian rural cooperatives and marketing: Dairy sector
Hovhannisyan, Vardges – Vasa, László
Keywords: agriculture, cooperation, cooperative, milk production, transition economy
Armenian milk marketing cooperatives provide several benefits, of which the increased opportunity for milk marketing is valued most by member farmers. During the cooperative action milk production has also increased due to seminars on cattle feeding, artificial insemination, sanitation programs, and support by cooperatives in feed procurement. Another benefit is that through pooling products of specified grade or quality, marketing cooperatives are better able to market milk to large-scale buyers than individual owners. Putting their efforts together cooperatives can move to distant markets and thus expand their sales opportunities. This is of paramount importance for those cooperatives that have a sole buyer. In addition to milk marketing, almost all of the cooperatives expressed desire to integrate themselves vertically in milk processing with the aim of capturing greater share of the consumers’ food expenditures. It’s worth mentioning that all managers stated the importance of seminars and educational tools to the success of their organizations. However, in their self-assessment lower ratings were noted in the areas of financial management, financial statement analysis, strategic planning, and higher scores were stated for business decision-making and cooperative principles. Our findings indicate that an opportunity exists to reinforce managers’ knowledge in the areas of cooperative principles, division of responsibility between managers and the Board, and financial management.. The results of the research come to advocate for continuing cooperative business and extending their activities over other aspects of the agricultural sphere (technical service, agricultural production, etc.), thus enabling farmers to further integrate themselves in food marketing system and improve their incomes.