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Consumer and worker cooperatives are constructing the first national Internet-based Central Purchasing Body (Central de Compras). Consumer cooperatives will be able to buy all kinds of goods or obtain services on the webpage at an affordable price. Furthermore, the tool will allow worker cooperatives to create commercial opportunities and increase sales.
It is the first time that consumer and worker cooperatives are working together, not only for a single project - for a short space of time -, but also in the long term.
The central purchasing body is an initiative of the Consumer Cooperatives Federation FACC (Federación Argentina de Cooperativas de Consumo), with the help of the Cooperativa Obrera de Bahía Blanca, the largest consumer cooperative in Argentina. They will work with the Argentinian Worker Cooperatives Federation FECOOTRA (Federación de Cooperativas de Trabajo de la República Argentina).
FECOOTRA and Cooperativa Obrera have already worked together when they agreed that the FECOOTRA member cooperatives should become suppliers for the Cooperativa Obrera.
The intention is to have the web page online at the end of April and to carry out an evaluation approximately six months later.
The project not only includes a web page, but also a lot of work with the cooperatives in order to help them to be in a position to sell their products on a large-scale and to adapt to the distribution system. They are also planning to hold training courses and meetings with organisations from other countries, such as Italy, which have a lot of experience with central purchasing bodies.
The Argentinian consumer cooperative movement, which was centralised, historically, under the banner of “Hogar Obrero”, is very old and used to be very strong. However, as a result of a series of crises, notably the crisis in the 1990s, it has lost some of its vigour.
On the other hand, small cooperatives are not always capable of reaching out to a large group of potential customers and so this project will enable them to get stronger together.
More information at: www.fecootra.org.ar
International Organisation of Industrial, Artisanal and
Service Producers' Cooperatives
Secretariat: C/O European Cooperative House - avenue Milcamps 105
1030 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 2 543 1033, fax: +32 2 543 1037