Changes in Relationship between Producer Organisations and Producers in the Fruit and Vegetable Sector

Hamar, Anna

Keywords: fruit and vegetable sector, members of POs, generational change, Q13

Producer organisations (POs) in the fruit and vegetable sector appeared as new market actors at the millennium. In spite of some differences, organisations’ efforts towards membership have been vigorously taking shape over the past twenty-five years. Relations between POs and their members have been shaped by structural changes in the agriculture sector, by market decisions and by pressure for increased revenues. As a result, weakly integrated ‘quasi-membership’ has become the common phenomenon, where weak ties between members and the organisation promote producer opportunism. At the same time, internal circles of producers have respected rules of cooperation and provided a basis of trust and reliability for the organisation. A few ‘elite’ organisations have also come about, whose founding members are different from ‘old’ organisations in terms of demographic composition and spatial organisation. The extensive period in the evolution of producer organisations has come to an end; their shared characteristic is that direct and indirect resources of the state and the European Union play a decisive role in membership ties.