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In the current period, there are a number of structural changes in the Western agribusiness, in all its components, dominated by increased retail sales of food, increasing quantities of food at the expense of traditional industrial supply system effects, storage and transport. Food system evolves subject to factors such as quality of agricultural production, its level of intensity, rural development, environment and food safety issues. The current food system relies on proper functioning, organization and size of family farms. Even though the average size of family farms is increasing, concerns are growing larger on weakening their market power phasing out of non-agricultural components of the agri-food sector.78 Hence, the results tend to self-sufficiency of the family farms and constraints on their ability to achieve large. Even if technological advances allow volume expansion of manufacturing activities that can be performed by a family, the need to preserve family organization prevents structural changes in the system. Growing gap between the size of family farms upstream and downstream trading partners dictate the expanding need for inter-sectoral coordination in the agri-food sector and therefore improves the potential role that can be played by cooperatives. However, coordination in the agri-food sector can be achieved by means of both cooperative and non-cooperation: market contracts, specifications, production management contracts, insurance resource providing contracts, pricing, marketing channels, and agricultural cooperatives. On the other hand, agricultural cooperatives are exposed to more intense competition and capital requirements are increasing. To take full advantage of this power, they need to adopt organizational strategies that allow them to be flexible and respond to members’ needs, while ensuring access to needed capital. These strategies often can lead to the emergence of new patterns of cooperation that look increasingly different from traditional patterns of cooperation and increasingly investors like companies.


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