Innovation Through Co-operation

Agricultural co-operatives perform an essential role in the supply chain of Scottish food and farming businesses. They are a vital link, bringing scale and collective access to markets for farmers and food producers, which would not be attainable as individual businesses.

Co-ops offer a strategic interface to support fragile rural communities stretching across the key pillars of economic, social and environmental sustainability. Without the capabilities and added value that is strategically and collaboratively delivered by the co-op sector, the success and growth of both Scottish agriculture and the food and drink sectors would undoubtedly be constrained and diminished.

DocHdl1OnPRINECTSVRtmpTargetScotland Food & Drink’s ‘Ambition 2030′ places great emphasis on supply chain development, in particular to build greater connection with – and drive greater profitability across – the agriculture industry. SAOS’ Co-operative Development Programme is a key delivery arm of that work.

The Ambition 2030 strategy has established the bold target of growing the food and drink sector in Scotland to £30bn by 2030. It is recognised that achieving this stretch target will require unprecedented levels of innovation and collaboration at every point in the supply chain and a deeper level of engagement with primary agriculture.

This strategy comes at a time of hastening political, social, environmental and technological change, not least uncertainty over Brexit outcomes and the impact upon agriculture. It also sits against a backdrop of an agricultural sector in which productivity is growing more slowly than many of our major competitors. Indeed, productivity has become one of the biggest challenges of our era. Increasingly, Scottish levels of agricultural productivity will be critical if we are to be competitive in global markets and in ensuring that our industry can become less dependent on direct support as we move away from the Common Agricultural Policy. Furthermore, productivity is a key driver in overcoming the environmental challenges we face. Productivity and environmental responsibility go hand in hand.

The objective of SAOS’ Co-operative Development Programme is to contribute, through the development of farmers’ co-operatives and co-operation, towards the following outcomes:

  • Sustainable growth in agricultural profitability through increased market-orientation, competitiveness and resource efficiency
  • Better connection of agriculture with the food and drink sector
  • Higher levels of resilience in agriculture to shocks and future challenges
  • A lower carbon and more climate-resilient economy in the agricultural and food sector
  • Increased productivity achieved through accelerated innovation

To view SAOS’ Co-op Sector Development Programme for 2018/19 go to: