This article focuses on assessing whether the main conditions required for smallholders' agricultural cooperatives to successfully develop are currently met in Colombia. The main objective is to formulate policy implications on how the State may contribute to facilitate that these organizations constitute vehicles for rural development. The article 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 an important 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 and development of self-reliant grassroots organizations. This "facilitatory" role would represent a third-way between two previous approaches that have failed in Colombia in the past: 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.

Agricultural cooperatives, Agriculture, Colombia, Peasant economy, Public policies, Rural development,
Desarrollo y Sociedad
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Gutiérrez, J.D. (2014). Smallholders' agricultural cooperatives in Colombia: ¿Vehicles for rural development?. Desarrollo y Sociedad, (73), 219–272. doi:10.13043/DYS.73.7