During the 1960s the cooperative sector in India was responsible for the distribution of 70 percent of the fertilizers consumed in the country. This sector had adequate infrastructure to distribute fertilisers but had no production facilities of its own and hence was dependent on public/private sectors for supplies. To overcome this difficulty and to bridge the demand supply gap in the country, a new cooperative society was conceived to specifically cater to the needs of farmers. It was an unique venture in which the farmers of the country through their own cooperative societies created this new institution to safeguard their interests. The number of cooperative societies associated with IFFCO have risen from 57 in 1967 to more than 37,700 at present. Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) was registered on November 3, 1967 as a Multi-unit Co-operative Society. On the enactment of the Multistate Cooperative Societies act 1984 & 2002, the Society is deemed to be registered as a Multistate Cooperative Society. The Society is primarily engaged in the production and distribution of fertilisers. The bylaws of the Society provide a broad frame work for the activities of IFFCO as a cooperative society.
Cooperatives as legal entities
A mainstream cooperative comprises a legal entity owned and democratically controlled by its members, with no passive shareholders, unless they hold non-voting shares. It thus combines the equal control characteristic of many partnerships with the legal personality conferred on corporations.
Cooperatives may or may not pay dividends. For cooperatives falling in the latter category, any surplus may be returned to members by way of a rebate or bonus on their activity with the cooperative, or a dividend on their shareholding in the cooperative.
Cooperatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of...