Skip to main content

Farming Co-Operatives

Volume 113: debated on Wednesday 25 March 1987

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many registered farming co-operatives there are in England and Wales; how many farms these include; and how many farming co-operatives there are in other Economic Community for farmers wishing to establish farming co-operatives.

The Government do not collect statistics on farming co-operatives. However, the Plunkett foundation for co-operative studies at Oxford estimates that there are 540 agricultural and horticultural farming co-operatives in England and Wales involved in trading. In addition, there are machinery syndicates and cooperatives concerned with pest control and other activities. No figures are available on the number of farms involved in co-operation. Statistics on farming co-operatives in the EC countries are due to be published shortly and I will write to my hon. Friend when they are available.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what financial assistance is available from his Department or from the European Economic Community and farmers wishing to establish farming co-operatives.

Under the agricultural and horticultural co-operation scheme 1985 non-capital grants of up to 75 per cent. are available towards the cost of setting up a cooperative association. The scheme also provides for grants of about one-third towards the marketing costs of newly established co-operatives in three of their first five years. Capital grants are also available at varying rates. Under EC Regulation 1035/72 launching aid can be aid for five years to formally recognised prolducer groups in the fruit and vegetables sector, based on a percentage of historic turnover and a percentage of administrative costs.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much financial assistance has been provided by his Department to farming co-operatives in each of the years since 1979.

Expenditure in the United Kingdom on grants to farming co-operatives has been as follows:

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is his definition for the purposes of financial assistance from (a) his Department and (b) the European Economic Community, of a farming co-operative.

The following may be eligible for grant:

  • (a) "A co-operative association" or "recognised group" defined in paragraph 2(1) of the Agricultural and Horticultural Co-operation Scheme 1985. The second definition is for the purposes of grant to forage groups in the Less Favoured Areas under Article 17 of the EC Regulation 797/85. In both cases the applicant must be a registered society under Industrial and Provident Societies Acts or a body which Food From Britain are satisfied is in substance a co-operative association.
  • (b) A "Producers' organisation" in the fruit and vegetables sector defined in Article 13 of EC Regulation 1035/72. In essence it must aim to improve marketing by requiring members to sell all their produce through the organisation and apply production and marketing rules.
  • Factors in addition to these definitions are taken into account in deciding whether grant can be approved in any particular case.