Indicator Library

Producer Organizations

The COSA indicators are similar across all countries to allow for comparison, but are also adapted to allow for local contexts. Consistent indicators allow a shared understanding and a foundation for better management of sustainability.COSA indicators are derived from a series of observed facts and reported perceptions. The indicators provide both easily interpreted performance metrics and a rich multi-dimensional understanding. They help to develop and monitor practical objectives and the questions related to them are widely field-tested to permit confident observations and interpretation. What an indicator captures is important but even more valuable is the combined COSA experience to gather, analyze, and communicate results in a balanced and effective manner.

Defining COSA Indicators: COSA indicators are designed to quantify and clarify information in a manner that promotes the understanding of key environmental, social, and economic issues.
  • 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

  • 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)

  • 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

  • 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

Membership and Organizational Structure

  • Membership
    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)

    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)

  • Organizational Structure
    Legal status

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

    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


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

    Voting rules and decision process

Community Services

  • Environment
    Waste management/recycling

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

    Water Conservation practices

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

  • Social
    Public Services and Benefits

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

    Community empowerment

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

  • 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.

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)

  • Training and Information
    Technical Assistance

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

    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.

    Forms of communication

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

    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)

  • Credit provided to members
    Financial Services

    Financial services offered by the PO to members

Management and Organizational Systems

  • Organizational Systems
    Record Keeping

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


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

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

Commercialization Services

  • 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

  • Commercialization
    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

    Payment Schedule

    Schedule of payment made to members