The Common Market Organisation (CMO) Regulation contains rules on the recognition of producer organisations, associations of producer organisations and interbranch organisations.
Producer organisations (whether or not organised as cooperatives) are important players in the food supply chain. They contribute to strengthening the position of producers versus other downstream actors in the food supply chain by carrying out a wide array of activities (e.g. concentrating supply, improving marketing, providing assistance to their members, etc). By working more closely with one another, producers are able to achieve economics of scales and synergies to process and market the products of their members.
Associations of Producer organisations have a dual purpose: they play the same role as producer organisations and they also coordinate the activities of their member organisations.
Interbranch organisations are vertically integrated organisations which comprise producers and at least one member of the processing or trading part of the supply chain. Interbranch organisations provide a means of allowing dialogue between actors in the supply chain, and in promoting best practices and market transparency.
Under certain conditions, the rules adopted by recognised producer organisations, associations of producer organisations and Interbranch organisations can be extended to non-members. Under certain circumstances, non-members which benefit from the activities of these organisations shall pay financial contributions to the organisation.
For some of their activities recognised producer organisations and interbranch organisations are granted derogations from the application of the Treaty's competition provisions.
- For the milk sector producer organisations are allowed to carry out joint sales on behalf of their farmers members.
- For three other sectors, i.e. olive oil, beef and veal and certain arable crops, the Commission adopted Guidelines on joint selling. The Guidelines help explain to farmers in these sectors how, if certain conditions are fulfilled, they can jointly sell their products in compliance with EU competition rules.
- Special supply management rules exist for protected designations of origin and geographical indications for cheese and ham, as well as for wine.
- In the fruit and vegetables sector, the CMO Regulation provides for withdrawal of products by producer organisations under certain conditions, see Article 33 CMO Regulation.