The Influence of Agricultural Cooperatives in the Development of Food Production in Nigeria
Objective of the Study
In general, this study set out to determine the extents to which the cooperative societies can contribute to the development of agriculture in the specific objectives are:
- provide insight into the role cooperative societies plan in the development of agriculture in Abaji Area Council.
- identify the types of agricultural cooperative societies in the Area Council
- examine problems militating against cooperative activities in Abaji Area Council
- examine the forms of benefit members derive from cooperative societies in Abaji Area Council.
- provide insight into the process through which the community and cooperative leaders can ensure genuine development of agriculture in the Area Council through cooperative societies
- examine the measures which all the levels of government will embark on to enhance the cooperatives for better development in Abaji Area Council.
CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK AND REVIEW OF LITERATURE
Conceptual Framework of the Study
There are some fundamental and technical concepts that demand for clarifications in the way they are being used in this study and they include: the concepts of development, cooperatives agricultural development.
Concept of Cooperative
The idea of people working together is the basis for the formation of cooperatives. The International Cooperative Alliance (ICA, 2010) as an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise. This definition emphasizes that cooperatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy and equality (ICA 2007).
Cooperative societies are community based, self co0ntrolled and self funded microfinance institution (Simkhada, 2001) because they are meant to operate at the micro level in most cases to serve the low level strata of the economy, to people who in most cases lack access to formal banking system.
Cooperatives are financial organizations that are owned and controlled by the members and they provide savings and credit services to their members in the community (Sharma et al, 2005). Cooperatives are a form of microfinance institutions owned by group of people who are the members and they provide small scale financial services-majorly savings and loans just like any other microfinance institutions to their members. This is different from the formal microfinance institutions such as the microfinance banks (MFBs) in Nigeria which are meant to serve the general public. Cooperatives are voluntary associations that are member owned, self managed and democratically controlled within a specific location (Adebayo and Yusuf, 2004). The existence of cooperative in a community suggest that they may be location bound or restricted which also apply to some formal microfinance institutions especially the MFBs in Nigeria with the microfinance policy delineating the operational locations of MFB (CBN, 2005) either as a unit MFB or a state-wide MFB.
Cooperatives are independent association of people who voluntarily unite to form a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise called cooperatives, to meet members’ economic, social and cultural needs (Henry and Schimmel, 2011). Cooperative can be seen as an arrangement designed to improve the lot of individuals and enhance micro and small scale entrepreneurs both in the rural and urban areas in mobilizing savings and accessing fund as loans as at when needed from the scheme. Cooperative societies are privately organized association of individuals of like minds who come together to operate a savings and loan programme among themselves (Oluyombo, 2010).
This chapter focuses on methods that are relevant and which are developed to collect data from the people of this study area (Area Abaji Council); the survey method comprising questionnaire and interview which are found most suitable for this study, because this is a predominantly semi-literate community. The questionnaire and interview scheduled are used with precision to collect data on the current social reality, particular on the role of co-operative societies in the development of agriculture in Abaji Area Council and other situations currently on ground using time series. The secondary source is also employed to compliment these primaries of our data collection.
The Study Area
According to the National Population Commission (2006), the 2006 National Head Count of the people of Nigeria, Abaji Area Council had a population of forty-six thousand and six hundred (46,600) inhabitants and small-scale holder activity involved in agrarian production and distribution.
Abaji Area Council is the southern gateway to the federal capital territory (FCT). The Area Council was carved out from the then Kwara State (now Kogi State), Abaji was made a development area among the nine development areas created in the FCT. They were later converted into Local Governments and in 1986 were made area councils. Abaji Area Council has a land size of about 1015.927 square kilometers and was structured into ten political wards. The creation of the area council was significant factors for the development and peaceful co-existence of different ethnic groups who share common aspirations and are predominately farmers. Abaji which is the Area Council headquarter was established by band of hunters under the leadership of Abazhi from Ogbede ruling clan. Oral tradition maintains that this hunting group was remnant of the Egbira which were part of the seven Hausa “Banza-Bakwai” states.
The community is over two hundred (200) years old. The community has royal clans: Ogbede, Ndegyima and Anuku (ONA) which emerged from the descendants of the founder of this community. The leadership is acquired by rotation between the three royal clans.
Indeed, the establishment of Abuja subsequent, expansion and development as Nigeria’s modern capital has a profound impact on the value system of this rural community. The community is located on the Lokoja-Kaduna highway which is in the southern boundary of FCT-Abuja. As a predominantly rural community, agriculture is the main stay of the economy as over forty-five thousand (45,000) of the populations are involved in subsistence farming. Some of the major crops produced by the farmers in Abaji Area Council include: Rice, Yam, Cassava, Maize, Groundnut, melon, Mango, Orange, etc.
The ethnic compositions in Abaji Area Council include: Ebgira, Ganagana, Gwari, Bassa, Hausa and immigrants such as Yoruba, Igbo, Tivs, among others. This study focuses on five political wards in the Area Council which are: Abaji Central Ward, Nuku-Sabon Gari Ward.
DATA ANALISIS AND DISCUSSION OF THE RESULT.
Analysis is done in subsections including the socio-demographic characteristics of respondents and measurement of the role of cooperative societies in the development of agriculture in Abaji Area Council.
Socio-Demographic Analysis of Respondents
Table1: Gender Distribution of the Respondent
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
It is worthy to re-affirm that Abaji area council, the study area is located in the federal capital territory. The community studied is sandwiched between urban and rural life.
From the findings in this research work, a lot has been achieved despite the antagonistic attitudes of non members and apathy from the members themselves, cooperative society is people oriented association; the people are architects of development as well as the beneficiaries.
Cooperative method remains the vibrant economic technique of wealth creation, job creation and rural development. There are various problems militating against the performances of cooperative societies in Abaji area council, also changing world of technology poses great challenge to the efficiency of cooperative societies in Abaji area council, most cooperative societies are operating with inadequate capital to cope with their needs. The study shows that cooperative societies has had a profound impact on the development of Agriculture in Abaji area council because the rural farmers lived on subsistence level of farming, now improves their farming methods and production to commercialize level of farming.
From the findings above, the conclusion is on the result or outcome of the study at hand which gives the real definition about an assessment on the role of cooperative societies in the development of agriculture in Abaji area council.
This research finding has been proceeding in the positive direction because the researcher has realized that agricultural development is possible through the cooperative societies.
However, cooperative societies are easy to form and have a stable life. Membership is open to all, and members have limited liabilities. The societies have stable life and enjoy government patronage they suffer from insufficient capital, problems in management and conflict among members. There is lack of motivation in members due to absence of direct reward for individual effort. Excessive government regulation and control may also pose problem from them. Cooperative societies are suitable in protecting exploitation of weaker sections of society and promoting their economic interest.
Therefore, agricultural development in most developing countries like Nigeria requires much attention from the Government; also government should always use cooperative societies to implement some of the developmental project in the communities.
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