UNICA becomes first Andalusian cooperative to obtain AOP recognition

Wed 22/01/2020 by Richard Wilkinson
UNICA becomes first Andalusian cooperative to obtain AOP recognition

Unica Group, S.C.A. is the first Andalusian cooperative to be recognised as an AOP (Association of Fruit and Vegetable Producer Organisations) by the General Directorate of Industries, Innovation and Agrifood Chain of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Sustainable Development of Andalusia.

The main objective of creating this entity (AOP) is to improve the competitiveness of primary producers through their integration into the agri-food chain. In future negotiations of the regulations of the post-2020 CAP, which incentivises the use of AOPs in the fruit and vegetable sector, UNICA could benefit from EU aid of up to 5.5% (compared to the current 4.1%) to finance the interventions of its operational programme related to certain objectives (R&D, environment, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, promotion, stimulation of consumption, prevention and crisis management) . This would translate into approximately 35% more aid for the farmer.

“The recognition of the AOP is one more step that, together with the clear strategy of strengthening the link with our customers and with the consumer, allows us to increase profitability for farmers,” said director of UNICA, Enrique de los Ríos.

UNICA is the first cooperative to be recognised as an AOP of fruits and vegetables in Spain.

Concentration and efficiency, without losing identity

Today, 22 cooperatives form UNICA (including the six linked to Coopaman) are distributed across Andalusia, Murcia, Castilla-La Mancha, and the Valencian Community. They maintain their governing bodies, presidents and managers, and retain their identity and centralise their commercial management in line with the specifications of UNICA. UNICA’s success is based on renouncing private interests in favour of the common good, as well as on total transparency. The concentration of supply allows cost savings and ensures greater competitiveness by taking advantage of economies of scale.

It is a model based on co-management, where cooperatives participate jointly in the company’s strategy in making decisions about markets or customers and always with permanent information. In addition, their presidents and managers continue to be responsible for hiring their warehouse staff and other relevant decisions of their cooperative.

The mission of UNICA is to ensure the multiannual profitability of the farmer in a sustained way, planning the crops and strengthening the bond with the clients, discarding the idea that the focus of attention should be on the price of the day – all this with absolute transparency in terms of information.

The cooperatives that are part of UNICA centralise services such as information technology, billing, marketing, communication and business development, commercial department, industrial department, quality or technical department, thus reducing marketing expenses to obtain the highest profitability of the member.

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