What do meat, poultry, pork, dairy and pizza have to do with each other?

In the city of Chapecó the production and sale of these products sustain lives. Dairy and pizza are some of the 700-strong product range of one of Brazil’s most successful cooperatives, Coopercentral Aurora, whose membership extends to more than 60,000 farmers.

But Coopercentral Aurora’s impact is more fundamental than all of the above. In essence, it has brought electricity to the countryside. And it fulfils the basic needs of rural families such as housing, sanitation and technical assistance. Families’ welfare is well guaranteed.

Most of these farmers are small. It was their need for scale that prompted eight agricultural cooperatives to get together in 1969 to organize production in regions. It was this act, this mark of cooperation, that led to the industrialization of its production.

The partnership worked. Its headquarters have grown into large scale agro-industrial facilities including 10 sales departments, four animal feed manufactures and three grains storage units as well as enormous chicken and pig farming operations. And the customers have followed. Coopercentral Aurora has 31 distributors, more than 100,000 customers and 15,000 workers.

Aurora also acts as an educator, ensuring its small farmers access to advances in agricultural research. The economic protection it grants, the access to new technologies and the political defense provided by Aurora to its small farmers is part of the innate nature of cooperation. Thanks to this business model Aurora farmers have up-to-date technology and agricultural techniques, diversified activities and products as well as improved equipment and machinery.

This story is an IYC Yearbook feature: https://ica.coop/en/iycbook