Indicator Library

Producer Organizations Indicators


Rapidly diagnose the effectiveness and viability of a producer organization to understand its performance on dozens of key indicators designed to enable comparison and benchmarking with others if desired

Definition: Comprehensive indicators combine to provide a balanced understanding and insight with a state-of-the-art assessment of any rural association or agricultural enterprise


Optimal approach developed by a consortium of nearly 30 organizations, COSA’s online self-assessment has immediate scoring and insights to empower producers and their organizations.

Benefiting from the ‘group genius’ of 30 institutional experts, our insightful metrics provide complete diagnostics for rural organizations to thrive

Nearly one billion people around the world belong to cooperatives and producer organizations. A quick diagnosis of their effectiveness and viability is possible with COSA’s POD: Producer Organization Diagnostic tool. The POD is a free, public online self-assessment that gives immediate scoring and benchmarking as well as useful tips and insights about what makes organizations successful.

A Sample Of Global themes
  • General Information
  • Membership and Organizational Structure
  • Management and Organizational Systems
  • Financial Sustainability
  • Services and Facilities
  • Initiatives: Certification, Standards, or Project
  • Community Services
  • PO Priorities (Previously SWOT)


There are a number of vital characteristics, ranging from household characteristics and land tenure to distance to market and shocks, that are critical to understand as part of any sustainability assessment.

  • NAME

General Information

  • Producer Organization (PO) Profile
    Landholding/farm size

    Average total farm area of members (incluing direct members and/or those registered through member organizations)

    Type of PO by Purpose

    Production Area

    Average total production area (target crop) of members (incluing direct members and/or those registered through member organizations)

  • Products and Productivity
    PO focus crop(s)

    Crop(s) mainly produced by the members of the PO (e.g. cotton, coffee, cacao, banana, honey)


    Average yield during the year under consideration by focus crops mainly handled by the PO, yield change over time and reasons for positive or negative changes in yield (e.g., climate condition, farm management, technology)

  • Assessment Information
    PO Profile

    Official name of the PO (as specified in the registration certificate if registered), common name of PO (if different); Physical address (including municipality, state/department and country), phone number

    Date of assessment

    Date of assessment

    Respondents' information

    Information on respondent(s) name, sex, age, education level, position in the PO; Basic contact info (phone number, email)

Membership and Organizational Structure

  • Membership
    Active Membership

    Total number of registered members (physical persona) producing target crop at time of survey (incluing direct members and/or those registered through member organizations)

    Number and proportion of female members

    Number and percentage of female members at time of survey (incluing direct members and/or those registered through member organizations)

    Membership Size

    Total number of registered members (physical persona) at time of survey (including direct members and/or those registered through member organizations); total number of affiliated organizations (applicable to second and third grade organizations)

    Number of members by age category

    Number of members by age categories at time of survey (incluing direct members and/or those registered through member organizations)

  • Organizational Structure
    Legal status

    Official legal registration (i..e cooperative, association, business) 


    Number of full-time and part-time employees in the PO

    Board Members composition

    Total number of directive board members including oversight committee); Number of directive board members (including oversight committee) by age and gender

    Board members term

    Duration of Board members appointment

    Voting rules and decision process

    Organization Structure

    If the PO is a first grade (members are producers), second grade (umbrella organizations whose members are first grade organizations) or third grade organization (umbrella organization whose members are second grade organizations)

    Board or management appointment

    Process of management/board appointment (e.g., by members, external bodies), including appointment criteria

Management and Organizational Systems

  • Organizational Systems

    Use of computers, internet, mobile, radio or other technology for communication and access to information

    Record Keeping

    Transparent record keeping between organization, farmers, lenders, and buyers 


    Communication channels between BOD, Management and Members; Frequency and type of communication (e.g. Monthly regional meetings, Quarterly BOD meetings, Annual General Body meeting with members etc.)

    Accounting Systems

    Standard book keeping processes and accounting manuals in place. Existence of basic books of accounts (ledger). Automated accounting systems that generate financial statements (income statement, balance sheet, statement of change in members'/shareholders' equity, cash flow statement). 


    Existence and maintenance of PO policies/ regulations and procedures

    Audit and monitoring

    Existence of internal and/or external audits and/or monitoring (financial, certification, tax, buyer, compliance with PO policies,  etc.). If audits/ montioring happen, what is verified during audits/ monitoring.

Financial Sustainability

  • Financing Sources
    Loans/Credit (made to the PO)

    Source of credit/ loans obtained by PO

    Income Diversification

    Sources of income of the PO; % of income generated by target crop

Production Services

  • Agricultural inputs supply
    Input Types

    Type of agricultural inputs supplied by the PO, including divisible inputs (e.g., fertilizer, improved varieties, pesticides) and indivisible resources (e.g., tractor, farm equipment, input application equipment, access to irrigation, water pipes or pumps)

    Member access to inputs

    % of members with access to input services

  • Credit provided to members
    Financial Services

    Financial services offered by the PO to members

    Access to credit services

    Number of members who applied and received credit from the producer organization during the year(s) under consideration by gender and age

    Loan Size

    Minimum, average, maximum loan size provided by the PO during the year(s) under consideration

    Interest Rate and tariffs

    Average interest rate and tariffs per annum on loans by loan types/terms

    Requirements for receiving credit

    Requirements for receiving credit

  • Training and Information
    Training Methodology

    Type of training provided by the PO (promoters or technicians) to producers (e.g., good farming practices, application of agricultural inputs, post-harvest handling, certification) during the years under consideration; training methodology.

    Information Access

    Type of information channeled by the PO to its members (e.g., market, technology, weather, customer/user quality requirements); means of communications (e.g., broadcasting, pamphlets, text)

    Forms of communication

    How PO communicates with members (technologies used, meetings, pamphlets, etc.)

    Technical Assistance

    Provision of technical assistance to members; Type of technical assistance provided to members; periodicity of visits 

    Access to training

    Number of members who received training from the producer organization during the year(s) under consideration by gender and age

Commercialization Services

  • Commercialization
    Payment Schedule

    Schedule of payment made to members

    Means of collection/aggregation

    PO provides collection of the products or members deliver their product(s) to the PO/buying station, or deliver through intermediaries

    Commercialization Services

    Type of commercialization services offered by PO to members 

    Processing Services

    Type of processing services offered by PO to members

    PO buyers

    Who are the main buyers of the PO (e.g., wholesalers, supermarkets, processers, exporters, local markets)

    Sales volume

    Volume of target crop sold by PO in the year under consideration per market type (certified, conventional, roaster led, etc.)


    % of volume produced by members that is bought by PO; reasons for sideselling 

    Income from focus crop

    Income from target crop in the year under consideration

    Prices Received

    Lowest price, Average price, highest price for certified, uncertified coffee and coffee sold to roaster led programs; quality premium 

    Quality Control

    A framework for verification of processes and products is in place and functioning as planned. This includes internal evaluations of the processes as well as product quality verification at various stages of production/value addition.


    How PO assures physical seperation of products

  • Storage and Transport
    Storage Services

    Information on whether the PO provide storage services; Type of storage (e.g., traditional or open storage, closed storage, climate controlled warehouse) and the storage capacity in metric tons; information on whether the storage facility is sufficient to meet producers demand

    Transportation Services

    Information on whether the PO provides target crop transportation services to members

Community Services

  • Certiifcations or Standards
    Type of certificate currently held

    Type of certificate currently held by the PO (e.g., Fair Trade, Organic, UTZ Certified, Rainforest Alliance), number of producers certified, date of certification and information on cost of certification. If not certified, the indicator will ask reasons and future plans for certification.

  • Environment
    Water Conservation practices

    Practices employed by members to protect natural bodies of water and decrease water use 

    Waste management/recycling

    Practices employed by members for waste management, recycling and preserving biodiversity

  • Social
    Community empowerment

    Programs led by PO for community empowerement (i.e. Gender equity,  food security, etc.)

    Public Services and Benefits

    Programs led by PO for improving members and community education, roads, health facilities, etc.

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