What's Agri-food Cooperatives Spain?
Introduction

Agri-food Cooperatives Spain (previously called Spanish Confederation of Agricultural Cooperatives CCAE) is the organization which represents and defends the economic and social interests of the spanish agricultural cooperative movement.

Agri-food Cooperatives Spain is composed by 16 Federations and Territorial Unions of Agricultural Cooperatives (FUTs) and Agrocantabria (Cantabrian 2nd degree cooperative). Their services and trade areas are based in their respective Autonomous Communities.

Thus Agri-food Cooperatives Spain is the common body which represents all the cooperatives of every Autonomous Community of the spanish territory. Agri-food Cooperatives Spain defends cooperative's interests towards the national Administration, the European Union and the rest of the sectors' social and economic agents in which the agricultural cooperatives develop their activities. The aim is joining forces in order to defend the farmers' and cattle breeders' interests.

Moreover, Agri-food Cooperatives offers training, information and advisory services through their offices in Madrid and Brussels. In that way they are contributing to improve the agricultural cooperation's efficiency in achieving its economic, social and human goals.

Past and present

Shortly after the foundation of the Constitutional Monarchy in Spain, the Freedom of Association Act was dictated as a result of which the vertical structure of the preceding regime is going to make room for voluntary participation of associations which finally grouped in two organizations at national scale: AECA and UCAE.

AECA and UCAE merge and establish the Spanish Confederation of Agricultural Cooperatives (CCAE) on 7th  November 1989. The CCAE creation implied, in that moment, the achievement of the agricultural cooperative movement unity in the democratic phase after an adaptation process to the new political reality. Since then, it has succeeded in drawing up its own internal structure and, on the other hand, in getting recognition for its representativeness towards the National and EU Institutions, the agricultural organizations and the several associations and groupings of the agri-food sector.

At the beginning of 2009, CCAE changes its name and passes on to being called Cooperativas Agro-alimentarias (Agri-food Cooperatives Spain). The economic, social and entrepreneurial scenario has changed and the new name intends to emphasize, to a larger extent, the aspect of the integral and modern company adapted to the current markets needed nowadays by the cooperatives.

Agri-food Cooperatives Spain also takes responsibility for spreading, defending and stimulating the cooperativism as an entrepreneurial model which allows farmers and cattle-breeders to participate, to a larger extent, in the added value of their products and to give by extension more transparency and stability to the agricultural markets. At the same time, the cooperative formula helps to avoid the depopulation on the countryside, maintaining and creating employment in the areas where the cooperatives are established, contributing to the sustainability of the environment and to the rural development. In addition cooperatives prove to be a very efficient instrument to control the traceability, quality and safety of the agricultural products all along the chain, from the country to the consumer.

Nowadays, Agri-food Cooperatives Spain represents almost 3.844 cooperatives being part of Federations and Unions in all the Autonomous Communities, which a total annual turnover of 25.6 million euros, according to data of OSCAE 2013.