Smallholders’ Agricultural Cooperatives and Rural Development in Colombia

67 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2012

Date Written: August 1, 2011


Current living conditions of Colombian smallholders and the bottlenecks that restrain agriculture’s progress justify the exploration and implementation of public policies aimed at rural development. This dissertation focuses on rural development through smallholders’ agricultural cooperatives. Its main objective is to determine whether the main socio-economic conditions that allow these organizations to successfully develop are currently met in Colombia and to formulate policy implications on how the State may contribute to them. The dissertation argues that the conditions that facilitate the development of agricultural cooperatives are not adequately achieved in Colombia. Furthermore, it suggests that the State and other external agents may have a role to play in advancing these conditions. In short, it proposes the formulation of policies that allow the State to exert a facilitating role that aims to “midwife” the formation of self-reliant grassroots organizations. This “facilitatory” role would represent a third-way between two previous approaches that have failed in Colombia: the “top-down” interventions on farmer enterprises devised by the State in the 1960s and 1970s and the “hands-off” approach that was indifferent toward the development of smallholder organizations in the 1990s and 2000s.

Keywords: rural development, agriculture, smallholders, Colombia, public policy

JEL Classification: O13, O54, Q13, Q18

Suggested Citation

Gutiérrez Rodríguez, Juan David, Smallholders’ Agricultural Cooperatives and Rural Development in Colombia (August 1, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Juan David Gutiérrez Rodríguez (Contact Author)

Universidad del Rosario ( email )

Calle 12C # 6-25


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