Cooperative in Thailand -> Type of Cooperative -> Consumer Cooperative

Consumer Cooperatives are formed by consumers in obtaining various goods at reasonable prices and guarantee standard. It is a legal body, registered under the Cooperative Act, with its members as its share-holders. Members voluntarily co-invest in their cooperative stores to fulfil their purchasing needs in away that will sustain their economic well-being.

The first cooperative store in Thailand was established in 1937 at a village in Sena district, Ayuthaya province. Later on, it was spread all over the country.

Consumer cooperatives generally operate according to objectives as follows:-
1. To obtain goods and services in order to serve members
2. To collect members' produce and products for sale in the cooperative store
3. To promote and disseminate cooperative education to members
4. To promote the practice of savings, self help, and mutual help among members
5. To cooperate and collaborate with other cooperative organizations within and outside the country;
6. To undertake any other businesses consistent with the above objectives.

Business Operation
Following the same concept as other cooperative types, the consumer cooperative is based on the democratic controlled by members. As it is impossible for all members to manage  the cooperative store, representatives are elected as Steering Committee to look after the cooperative business. The number of Steering Committee members depends on the cooperative's by-laws and what is appropriate to the cooperative which is normally ranging between 10 to 15 persons. The Steering Committee represents the members in all matters having to do with the shop, overseeing all activities according to cooperative laws and regulations, resolutions of the board of directors, and other appropriate ways to ensure good results for the cooperative store and its members.

To effectively manage the cooperative store, the board of directors could hire a skilled and honest manager to operate the cooperative. His/her mandate is to effectively serve    members and customers. Depending on the workload and economic need, the manager may  recruit staff with the agreement of the board of directors. Consumer cooperatives strive to provide services for both members and non-members according to the principles of the Rochdale leaders as follows:
             Selling goods at market prices or slightly lower than market prices so as to avoid conflict with neighboring shops;
             Selling high-quality goods, not low-quality ones, as required by most of the members;
             Being accurate in weighing, scooping, and measuring goods;
             Buying a variety of daily necessities for sale to members; and
             Selling goods on cash basis to ensure a good cash flow for the shop, ability to make purchases at reasonable cost and prevent delinquency among members.

Working Capital
The consumer cooperative accumulates working capital form the following sources:
1. share capital form members
2. member deposits
3. reserve funds and other accumulated fund
4. loan funds
5. grants or donations of property.

The cooperative store should maintain adequate working capital for buying various goods and materials in response to members' needs. An ideal situation is where most of the cooperative's capital comes from the members themselves. However, at the initial stage, shares may be collected from members to cover necessary arrangements for setting up the cooperative, with a revolving fund left over for business operations. In later stages, member savings and deposits should be also increased to allow for cooperative expansion.

Business to Member
The following are among the benefits to consumer cooperative members:
             Members are assured of fair prices and good quality products.
             Annual profits are shared by members/shareholders in the form of dividends on shares and rebates of which its calculation is based on the amount of purchases made by the member over the year. This implies members can buy a much more cheaper products.
             By adopting cash purchasing, the cooperative store is assured of an adequate cash flow and the ability to purchase goods at low price. Members will also be induced to form an appropriate attitude towards money spending and saving.
             In view of the preceding benefits, consumer cooperative are considered the socio-economic organizations dedicated to improve member's quality of life.

 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The Federation of Savings and Credit Cooperatives of Thailand Limited (FSCT)
199 Moo 2, Nakhon in Road, Bang Si Thong Subdistrict, Bang Kruai District, Nonthaburi Province, 11130
Tel: (+66) 2496 1199 Fax: (+66) 2496 1177 , (+66) 2496 1188  E-mail: