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Strengthen Counseling on Farmers' Association Management and Business Establishment
2015.6 (Issue No.276)
Farmers' Association in Taiwan was founded based on The Farmers Association Act whose principle is to ensure farmers’ right and to improve their living standard as well as to develop rural economy. Farmers' association is a non-profit corporation with economic, educational, and social functions. Under the endorsement of the Act, it was responsible for 21 tasks, including agricultural promotion, agricultural finance, agricultural insurance, agricultural and livestock products logistics and marketing, warehousing, processing, manufacturing, retailing, agro-production assets and material logistic, rural tourism, among others. Since the first ever farmers' association (present-day San Hsia Farmer's Association) was established in Sanchiaoyung historic street in 1900, expanding for more than a Century, it has gone through significant changes during this period. The farmers' association underwent restructure from member capital share to corporation capital share, Taiwan’s entry into World Trade Organization, global financial crisis, and Cross-Strait agricultural cooperation and exchange, among other major occurrences. Facing challenges ahead, the farmers' association ought to adjust its management strategy and objective to overcome the challenges at the change of time.
Farmers' association connected with most of the farmers and played an important role to the development of agriculture. For many years, the government has dedicated to the development and transformation of agriculture, in which farmers' association imposed crucial impact and function. Therefore, the government took high regard to the association and gave full support. In order to assist farmers' association to deal with market competition and social environmental change, the Council of Agriculture offered counseling to the association step by step so that it could function independently and serve the aforementioned multiple benefits.
The revenue of the association mainly came from economic and financial sectors. Nevertheless, most of the financial business were restricted by regulations and regional development and could only develop steadily without diversity. For the purpose of enhancing the association's local advantage and its familiarity with regional industry diversification, the Council planned to counsel the associations which intended to reform the management and increase turnover by making concrete feasibility plan and integrating local feature with rural resources. The Council also encouraged to invent creative economic establishment or products and improve current package as well as marketing approach of the business management. From 2006 to 2014, 93 farmers' associations joined this project and received professional consultancy from industrial, governmental and academic experts on package design, brand image, e-commerce, innovative products, and so on. Till the end of 2014, it was estimated to create over NT$50 million profit, contributing to the innovative business, transitional management and service marketing of farmers' association effectively.
The farmers' association were able to propose innovative management strategy and dedicate to transformation. Such work could not be achieved by a few individuals. Were not joint efforts and participation from all members, the goal would never be achieved successfully. Therefore, the Council was dedicated to promoting the counseling project on the 21 century innovative management strategy of farmers' association in 2004. Experts excelling in organization management, agriculture extension, finance, public relations, marketing, recreational service, package design, creativity and logistic were invited to join the management consultant team. For the association which intend to improve the quality of employees and team management, they diagnosed and assessed the organization first and then offered counseling assistance to treat the weakness. During the two years, team work development and professional training were given to enhance the commitment of the members and their competence of innovative development, service and business. By the end of 2014, a total of 67 farmers' associations participated in the project.
Farmers' association in Taiwan were facing the rapid change and challenge from external environment. How to upgrade the employee's quality and team work, find out the core competence of business management, speed up organization transformation, grasp market trend actively, develop diversified creative products, sustain the century-old farmers' association, encourage new thinking, and build new strategy of sustainable management becomes a crucial task for the association to strive hard in the future.