Cooperatives, partnerships and the challenges of quality upgrading: A case study from Ethiopia

A. Royer*, J. Bijman, G.K. Abebe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Food value chains in developing countries are changing in response to the increasing quality and safety demands
of domestic and international customers. Tighter vertical ties are developing to comply with these stringent
quality requirements. In addition, the issue of limited bargaining power for smallholders in these coordinated
chains has prompted a renewed interest in cooperative organizations. In Ethiopia, a partnership between a
domestic trading firm and a cooperative union has helped enhancing capabilities at the supply-base as well as
strengthening the cooperative’s internal governance, managerial capabilities, and financial and non-financial
resources. Based on in-depth interviews, our paper presents a case study on how this partnership operates. Good
technical assistance provided by the union, with support from the exporting company and an NGO, is one of the
key success factors of this partnership. The study also highlights that a high price is not necessarily a driver for a
successful partnership, as predetermined prices are preferred by farmers despite relatively higher prices on the
local market.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-55
JournalJournal of Co-operative Organization and Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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