Agriculture is the bedrock of any nation’s economy. However, the dilapidating state of Nigeria’s agricultural sector and its consequences on the socio-economic development of the nation’s economy had given rise to this research work. Thinking along this path, the need to look into the sector and address the issue of poor performance gave rise to the establishment of agricultural cooperative societies to increase agricultural cooperatives societies to increase agricultural output. This is because agricultural cooperative have a large number of labour force in the rural area, who have contributed in the production of food crops, raw materials for industries and as a means of foreign exchange.
In the 60s, Anambra state economy had mono-sectorial dependency on agriculture as the main source of earning and employment for the ever teeming population. In the 70s, there was s shift from agricultural produce to non-agricultural sector.The state is still peasantised with a larger number of people involved in smalls-scale production and there had been no significant agrarian modernization and revolution. Subsistence agricultural is still been practiced which its output is not enough to feed the population, let alone provide raw materials for our agro based industries. Exportation of the state’s cash crops which in the past has supported the economy has virtually reduced. This has been blamed on negligence and poor performance of the farmer’s agricultural cooperative societies. And at such there was urgent need to revitalize the sector, owing to its importance in improving agricultural output in the country.
The government had been making efforts to improve agriculture in Nigeria both at the state and federal levels. However, there still goods scarcity in the country. Population is more rapid than agricultural growth and this has seriously reduced the benefits of increased food production and the associated increase in income. As a result of this, many people in the country still without food, irrespective of the strategic position of agriculture in the state economy and the huge allocate made out to importation of food items. Thus a need to come up with a solution through proper diagnosis of the problems confronting the sector. This resulted in the bringing together these peasant farmers under cooperative societies with a view of improving agricultural production, increase income earning and self-sufficient in good items. Prior to the discovering of crude oil in Nigeria, there were cash crops like groundnut, cocoa and rubber, cultivated in large quantities which were exported to Europe and America in the pre 60s. The incursion of military government in Nigeria politics had equally contributed to the poor state of the sector and even with transition to democracy, the country is yet t regain her position in the agricultural market. The administration of president Olusegun Obasanjo has watered the ground to empower Nigerian farmers and agro-allied investors to harness the country’s rich resources in producing food and raw materials for industries and export by ensuring banks and other extension services like making available fertilizers, pesticides, planting technologies etc at subsidies rate.
Working in hand with the farmers is the Nigerian export promotion council which assists in finding buyers of cash crops produced. Land was equally provided at reasonable term for large scale farming.Government equally encouraged foreign agriculture investors which has yielded a remarkable result for instance the southern African countries have found Nigeria at home to start off operations to produce. The agricultural initiative of the Obasanjo administration saw to the restriction of some food importation thereby encouraging our local farmers to compete in the international market.
Nigerian government had embarked on various programmes and policies involving hundreds of millions of naira, aimed at reviving the ailing agricultural sector. This gave rise to the organization of small scale farmers into agricultural cooperatives societies in order to meet the demand of the growing population. However, these efforts and the cooperative societies have failed in achieving this objective which has made the nation rely heavily on importation and deterioration of the agricultural sector and the industries. Thus, this research aims at examining the need to improve the activities of the cooperative societies with a view to increasing agricultural output to enhance the socio-economic development of the nation.
The main purpose/objective of this project is to undertake a study of the existing farmers cooperative development of agriculture.
The study has the following specific objectives
(a) To examine the organizational set up and operations of the farmers’ cooperative movement in Anambra state with a particular reference to selected cooperative societies I the state.
(b) To examine the impact of farmers cooperative societies to agricultural output.
(c) To investigate the problems confronting farmers cooperative societies.
(d) To suggest pragmatic ways and means of enhancing the effectiveness of these societies.
i. What is the organizational set up and operations of farmer’s cooperative movement in Anambra state?
ii. What is the impact of farmer’s cooperative societies on agricultural output in Nigeria?
iii. What are the problems confronting agricultural cooperative societies in Nigeria?
iv. How can these problems facing agricultural cooperative societies be tackled in other to enhance the effectiveness of these cooperative societies in Nigeria?
For agricultural cooperative societies to attain high service and huge surplus, there must be an adequate assistance from the government, educated cooperators and committee members and adherence to cooperatives principles, law and rules in their activities. The full success of agricultural cooperative societies will depend on the extend of assistance received from the government and the level of commitment the members show to the society and their activities as well. Hence, collectivity will go along way rather than individualism in the achievement of self sufficiency in food production.
Agriculture is so important in order to sustain any economy. This is because the benefits of agriculture especially to most developing nations cannot be over emphasized. However, the system of agriculture in Nigeria society is more of subsistence than commercial. This role of organizing individual farmer’s into a larger umbrella to increase their output, if they must attain economic and social goals and freedom the nation’s economy. Equally, through this research study, the government will be better informed of the challenges confronting the agricultural cooperative societies in a bid to proper solution that would enhance efficiency. Through this research work, farmers cooperative societies would be educated as well as enlightened on the benefits they stand to gain from their activities in terms of profits maximization, increased income and the assistance the government is willing to offer them such as extending credit facilities to them, education on farming techniques, provision of farm items, such as fertilizers, at a cheaper price than they would have obtained outside of the societies. Finally it would also be of benefit to students who wish to go into agricultural business in the near future to take advantage of cooperative societies in order to excel and compete in the international markets across the globe.
Most of the terms used in this research work are register of cooperative societies which may be unfamiliar to the readers. At such there was need to define them for clearly understanding of the study.
Agricultural productivity: This is the index of the ratio
of the value of the total farm output to the value of total inputs used in production.
Farm Management: the application of farming with
science and technology to the solution of the day to day problems facing farmers.
Agriculture: can be broadly defined as the art and
science of production of plants and animals that are of benefits to man.
Cooperative Society: this is a form of organization
where people voluntarily associate together as human beings on the basis of equality for the promotion of their economic and social interests.
Production Promotion Cooperative: This is cooperative
by integration. The farmers depend on the society for their production activities. There is a strong link between the cooperative and its members in the area of management, credit and decision making.
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