Land O’Lakes believes that when people come together through cooperatives or member-owned businesses, they can pool their resources and maximize the value of whatever work they do. These organizational models are particularly effective and applicable in rural areas, where farmers tend to be widely dispersed, with relatively small pieces of land and few productive assets. By bringing such smallholder farmers together into market- and profit-minded groups, and enabling them to aggregate production, Land O’Lakes helps to increase their bargaining power with food processing and agricultural output marketing firms, and make them more attractive to agricultural input supply and service firms. The inclusive nature of member-driven and service-oriented producer organizations also helps ensure that vulnerable populations can participate in income generating activities within their communities. At the same time, these democratically-run businesses are extremely effective in promoting dialogue and mitigating conflict among diverse groups that might have less experience in working with one another.
As a commercial agribusiness, Land O’Lakes uniquely understands how to effectively assist agro-enterprises in developing and emerging markets to increase their productivity, profitability and market share. By helping enterprises gain access to business development, finance and market information services, we are able to strengthen their business and operational capacity. Through the application of practical business tools and the facilitation of business-to-business training and linkages, we are able to bolster not only small and medium-sized enterprises directly operating in commercial agricultural and food-system markets, but also firms providing the complementary services needed to make agricultural value chains strong and vibrant. Through our value chain analysis approach, we facilitate the identification and resolution of barriers to competitiveness, while building the business management capacity of enterprises to increase their profitability and sustainability. By strengthening business development services in Kenya, for example, we have fostered the creation of over 5,000 jobs, helped transform 70 producer organizations into sustainable businesses, and vastly improved incomes and access to credit for over 20,000 farmers.
Results in 2011
- Number of producer groups, co-ops and enterprises demonstrating higher profitability: 270
- Number of members in producer groups and cooperatives: 58,000
- Value of sales per year facilitated by producer groups, co-ops and enterprises: $5.4 million
- Volume of sales per year facilitated by producer groups, co-ops and enterprises: 23 million liters
- Value of sales per year of targeted input services (e.g. AI services, feed): $18,000
- Number of producer groups, co-ops, associations and enterprises assisted or established: 3,760
For an overview brochure of Land O'Lakes International Development, including descriptions of our practice areas, click here.
Membership in the Overseas Cooperative Development Council
Land O'Lakes International Development is a member of the U.S. Overseas Cooperative Development Council (OCDC), a group of eight cooperative development organizations committed to the conviction that cooperative techniques, which have helped millions of American families, can be adapted to help poor and low-income people in developing countries achieve a better way of life.
OCDC has released two ground-breaking reports about member initiatives that are measuring the success of cooperatives and creating the legal environment they require to flourish. Measuring Cooperative Success is the result of a joint project launched by OCDC members in 2007 called Measurements for Tracking Indicators of Cooperative Success (METRICS). The other report, Creating CLARITY, examines cooperative law and regulation, and provides two unique tools for addressing legal reform: the Rapid Cooperative Assessment Tool and the CLARITY Scorecard Process.