Name / Title Cooperative Biocoop
Case Study Region Comarca de Verín (Spain)
Geographical coverage   The headquarters of the cooperative is located in the municipality of Verin. Partners are farmers from all over the province of Ourense but the distribution covers whole national territory of Spain
Type Cooperative Association
 Main activity / focus  In 1998, the general goal was to orient and convert conventional cattle farms into organic looking for a more sustainable way of producing, protecting nature and consumers’ health. In order to do so, the cooperative has been fostering the recovery and protection of endangered autochthonous breeds in the province of Ourense, namely Vianesa, Frieiresa, Cachena, Caldelá and Limiá, as well as the Galician Rubia.The main activities of the cooperative are oriented to keep on promoting the participation of farmers in order to expand the Network of organic meat producers to foster organic production. In order to do so they provide advice to farmers about organic farming as well as help for applying for subsidies. Furthermore they have set up a commercialization, and distribution network for their products that provides organic meat to big stores but also organic meat and other organic products on demand of consumers (direct sell).
 Target beneficiaries / market Organic farmers, potential organic farmers in the province, and consumers of organic products all over Spain
 Year established 1998
 Current Funding source(s)  Regional ministry of agriculture, Regional government, European funds
Participants There are 28 cattle farms associated located in the following municipalities: Riós, A Veiga, Laza, Verín, Monterrei, Calvos de randín, Sandiás, Allariz, Cea, Barbadas, Ourense, Coles, Quintela de Leirado, Entrimo, San Xoan de Río and Motederramo. Currently the cooperative has around 70 members: 30 have the right to participate in the decision making processes, they have right to vote. 30-40 members do not have the right to participate in decision making processes but can benefit from the different services the cooperative offers.
 Description  Biocoop started its activity in 1998 when its initiator and since then director Jose Luis Vaz started his own organic farm. In that time, he began to convince other farmers to become organic, to use of autochthonous breeds and to found and join a cooperative for organic meat producers.Since then, the cooperative has been providing different services in order to carry out its activity: organic fodder for organic farmers; preventive and curative medicines of farms under the Geographical Protected designation Ternera Gallega; anti-parasite medication for organic farms; solar and electric fences; organic manure, seeds and forage; transportation of animals and raw material; control of good organic practices; administrative support for agroenvironmental subsidies and fulfilment of the Galician organic council regulation (CRAEGA). By doing so, the cooperative has become been able to maintain itself creating a network of organic farmers, strongly united.In the beginning the cooperative had to face the inexistence of channels of distribution and commercialisation of its product. Nowadays they manage to have not only a good distribution within the Galician region but also to other Spanish regions. The meat arrives nowadays to any place within Spain in 48 hours. There are two systems of sale: “Client portion in Darfresh system” that includes direct sales to individuals, but also organic shops, big supermarkets, consumer associations; and sale to professional butchers sensitive to differentiate and singular quality, specially oriented to the Galician Rubia breed with high yield.Bioccop has been very active in participating in fairs, symposiums, courses, both receiving trainning and teaching. Furthermore, they have been promoting the recovery of endangered autochthonous breeds especially as regards Cachena, Limia and Vianesa. Those breeds have less morphology, even worse appearance but are better adapted to local conditions resulting in better production, taste, fewer diseases. Those breeds are very suitable for organic production but also totally adapted to their specific environments: for instance, the Cachena is able to survive in places that lack of meadows and pastures, eating from bushes, and to move in difficult orography. In this respect, the cooperative is providing environmental services since it is not only recovering and maintaining animal biodiversity but also improving and maintaining the local environment.Future plans include the increase output and therefore commercialisation: nowadays about 500 calves per year. This requires the creation of more organic farms fostering autochthonous cattle that ensure the survival of the Galician rural world. A particular initiative to strength relation and contact with clients is the installation of web-cams in some farms.
 Contact details   Jose Luis Vaztel. +34 609334507, +34 988 412549