History of cooperatives

In the mid of nineteenth century and with the collapse of feudalism, industry, trade and banking rapidly increased, but also the economic position of workers, peasants and craftsmen was increasingly deteriorated. For peasants and craftsmen was very hard to use loans and interest rates on those loans were extremely high. To improve the current situation they formed cooperatives: farmers establish agricultural cooperatives, tradesmen establish purchasing cooperatives, workers establish trade cooperatives.

The first cooperative in Europe and the world was founded in England in the 1844, as a consumer cooperative. After that cooperatives are established in other European countries.

Precursor of cooperative foundation in Croatia was the Croatian-Slavonian Economic Society in Zagreb in 1841 whose task was improving the various branches of the economy and business education. By uniting the similar cooperatives and cooperative community, Central Cooperative was created as a professional and business head office in the region. Cooperative members belonged to one of these categories: credit, purchase, and a variety of consumer cooperatives.

Today, a well developed savings and credit cooperatives in Croatia was first mentioned in 1862 in place Pitomača in Podravina. The founders of the first saving and credit cooperative were small farmers and artisans who were associated in three guilds.

The first cooperative in Croatia was founded in 1862 in Pitomača as craft cooperatives, called "Pitomačka zanatnička zadružnica.” The cooperative is not interrupted its activities and now operates under the name “Prva obrtna štedno-kreditna zadruga”. Pitomačka zanatnička zadružnica" was established to improve trade and commerce in order that individuals who have money enable borrowing in the form of loans to those individuals who are developing their economy.

Rights and duties of members in cooperatives were regulated by rules from 1863 confirmed by the The General Command on the 20th June in the 1864. Shortly before that, in the 1847 The Raiffeisen and Schulze / Delitzsch founded the first association for mutual help for farmers in Weyerbusch / Westerwald which will yield the first statute of the savings and credit cooperatives in 1864, which points about the same ideas throughout Central and Western Europe at that time.
At the beginning of the twentieth century cooperatives become very strong economic system that Croatian region began to develop under the influence of co-operative practices in Europe. At that time, along the Croatia  operated more than 1500 cooperatives with about 250,000 members.
During the two world wars cooperatives successfully co-developed.

Croatian Peasant cooperatives operated by the Central Croatian Association in Zagreb. In the 40-ies of the last century model of collectivization was introduced like one in Soviet Union. At the beginning of the 50s comes to re-take-off cooperative in Croatia.
In the 60s of the last century cooperative associations are abolished. This state remains until the 90's. At that time in Croatia operates about 200 agricultural cooperatives.
After changes and the establishment of an independent Croatia 1990. new government does not assert the relationship between cooperatives and these associations are identified as institutions from the former socialist system.

Croatian Parlament passes laws on cooperatives 1995 (and later amendments), which represents the initial basis for the survival and development of cooperatives in Croatia.

Source: www.zadrugar.hr


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