In the agrifood sector, commodity associations group together different stakeholders within a marketing chain. Their goal is to act for the common interest of all their different members. This type of organis a widespread tool for marketiation, often seen as a French particularity, is nonetheless widespread in both industrialised and developing countries. This analysis paper reviews the different functions, often very similar, attributed to such commodity associations across the world. It also describes their organisation mode and their distinctive features.
These commodity associations can be seen as market governance structures necessary to compensate for the limits of coordination by sole market forces. However, they must also confront certain constraints coming from free-market and competition regulations or from their own composition, which limit their scope of action. It is in the end rather ironic that a rigorist implementation of free-market regulations should limit the effectiveness of these market governance structures. Indeed, real market forces tend to push agro-enterprises to search for a greater security of their productive investments through ever more concentration and integration of the marketing chain, whether by farmers or by downstream actors.