The imbalances in bargaining power between the contracting parties in the food supply chain have drawn much attention, also from policy makers. The European Commission is committed to facilitate the restructuring of the sector by encouraging the creation of voluntary agricultural producer organisations. DG Agriculture and Rural Development has launched a large study, “Support for Farmers' Cooperatives”, that will provide the background knowledge that will help farmers organise themselves in cooperatives as a tool to consolidate their market orientation and so generate a solid market income. In the framework of this study, this report provides the relevant knowledge from dairy sector. In this context, the specific objectives of the project, and this sector report, are the following: First, to provide a comprehensive description of the current level of development of cooperatives and other forms of producer organisations in the dairy sector. The description presented in this report will pay special attention to the following drivers and constraints for the development of cooperatives: Economic and fiscal incentives or disincentives and other public support measures at regional and national levels; Legal aspects, including those related to competition law and tax law; Historical, cultural and sociologically relevant aspects; The relationship between cooperatives/POs and the actors of the food chain; Internal governance of the cooperatives/POs. Second, identify laws and regulations that enable or constrain cooperative development and third, to identify specific support measures and initiatives which have proved to be effective and efficient for promoting cooperatives and other forms of producer organisations in the sheep meat sector.
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