(GIST OF KURUKSHETRA) Broadening Outreach of Cooperatives

(GIST OF KURUKSHETRA) Broadening Outreach of Cooperatives


Broadening Outreach of Cooperatives


  • India’s cooperative sector is the largest in the world and covers almost 98 percent of the countryside, with over 900,000 societies with a membership of about 290 million people, according to data from the National Cooperative Union of India. Here, Cooperatives are governed by two main legislations, the Cooperative Societies Act 2012 and the Multi-state Cooperatives Act 2002.
  • India is proud to have some iconic cooperative businesses in the country, such as dairy giant Amul and seasoned flatbread-maker ‘Lizzat Papad’, as well as the fertiliser chain IFFCO. In the financial sector, cooperative banks, both urban and rural, are lending institutions which are also registered under the Cooperative Societies Act, 1912.

Background data: 

  • According to the data published by the International Cooperative Alliance in the ‘World Cooperative Monitor’, out of the 300 largest cooperatives in the world, around 30 percent of cooperatives are engaged in the agriculture and food sector. 
  • The share of agriculture in cooperatives was 83% in the Netherlands, 55 % in Italy, and 31% in Finland in 2015. 
  • The United Nations designated 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives. 
  • Moreover, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) states that cooperatives are a pillar for agricultural development and food security in the world.

Ways to broaden the outreach of Cooperatives

Information and communication technology (ICT):

  • Use of innovative ICTs like the Internet of Things (loT), big data analytics, machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (Al) have great potential to improve the working of the agriculture cooperatives. 
  • They can support complex decision-making. 
  • Deployment of smart technologies enhances final productivity, reduces costs, and optimizes the decision making process.
  • They also provide the facilities for on-farm management, efficiency, and quality control tools.

Data Aggregation:

  • Use of digital technologies in agriculture help in creating information wealth and can immensely help in planning agriculture operations.
  • The cooperatives can thus use methods like GIS geospatial analysis, map analytics, etc to maximize their profits.

Digital Technologies:

  • Cooperatives can become crucial players in the digital revolution and garner benefits for the farmers.
  • They are important agents for necessary knowledge transfer and reducing barriers like lack of awareness.
  • For instance, in Spain a cooperative used the Internet of Things for Olive and Tomato production. Similarly, the Italian cooperative APOFRUIT is making use of smart technologies in grape cultivation.
  • In India, all the 1200 village-level milk producer societies of the Amul dairy have been covered under digitalisation and it has become the country’s first cooperative to adopt digital tracking and monitoring system for artificial insemination.

Need for regulations and policies

  • The use of digital technologies creates several concerns around privacy, data security, data ownership, competition, etc.
  • These concern thus mandates the creation of desired rules and regulations.


  • With the use of emerging technologies in the cooperative sector efficiency, productivity, and quality of services can be increased manifold. They can also help in effective and efficient decision making thereby boosting the profits for the members of the cooperatives.



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Courtesy: Kurukshetra