Marketing cooperatives in developing and transition countries face challenges when they aim to strengthen their competitiveness. One of these challenges relates to improving the quality of the products delivered by their members. Another challenge relates to the financial sustainability of the cooperative, as cooperatives have to choose between paying out a surplus to members and retaining it in the organisation. As these problems are not specific to one organisation, and public policies often affect the scope for individual cooperatives, we explore how the institutional environment helps in reducing those challenges.
We present a case study of the Moroccan dairy industry, exploring how the institutional environment has affected the development and performance of dairy cooperatives. The methods used were in-depth semistructured interviews within six dairy cooperatives. Findings point to the weak coordination between the main value chain actors. We also found a lack of financial instruments to facilitate investments in adequate quality assurance equipment and capacity development programs. Finally, we found a perceived lack of support from state policies vis-as-vis smallholders and their cooperatives.