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Abstract

The current structure of the German agri-food-sector is deduced from an increasing (international) competition and its division into small and medium business units particularly on the producers’ side. The roots of this development lie in a more a hundred year’s history of a productive branch that was intensively shaped by co-operatives. Nowadays this cooperative structure competes with networks and capital market-oriented firms that raise the question of the today’s role of cooperatives (see Kühl/ Hanf, 2004) In the following sections different approaches evaluating possible strategic paths of the actors within the production chain in the agri-food-sector will be presented. As a consequence risk issues agricultural economists have to address will be differentiated. Just (2003, p. 135) claims that “for the most part, longer-term risk issues have been examined only in the agricultural finance literature”. We support his statement when we estimate general valuation models – especially to judge the sustainability of cooperatives – as too much referring to the past and try to integrate more future oriented methods as in the case of due diligence.

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