The Role Of Co-operate Societies Towards The Development Of Rural Communities In Nigeria
The development of rural areas in Nigeria is influenced by numerous factors. The activities of co-operative societies in Kogi State was checked to see if it played any role in the development in the community it operates, Oral interview were carried out, several book were consulted and also, finding of registered co-operative societies and number of their members were carried out. From the findings, it revealed that those areas with co-operative societies gain more government attention than those without co-operative societies. The study reveals that for a government to achieve all round development empowering co-operative societies should be given utmost attention.
1.1 Background of the Study
In all the countries of the world toady, both developed and developing countries, the efforts of the government is geared towards the socio-economic development of the masses. The common task for the government and the citizens is on how the community’s development is to be achieved.
In pursuing this goal, one of the tools used is the formation of the co-operative societies. The cooperative societies can be seen from different perspectives.However according to Beko (1989)cooperative is an association of persons, with variable membership and variable capital who have pooled themselves and their resources together on mutual or self help basks to form a business enterprises which seeks to solve the socio-economic problems of there members by directly providing goods and services to them in their capacity as either owner/customer or owner/employee of the cooperative. Notably, membership of the society is voluntary and the perspective members must be free unlike the factory system which is known as the capitalist system in this system the working class suffered many hardship both from green land, owners and from traders and also the middlemen.
The hardship suffered by the factory workers were very low wages and long hours work, industry living and working conditions, high price of goods, adulteration of goods and short weight and quantity. As a result of all the problems directed on the working class the only option left for them was to form an association that would cater for their common problems. This resulted in formation of cooperative societies.
In Nigeria the history of cooperative movement dates to the 1930s, the main aim of the colonial masters then was to organize farm land where farmers would cultivate on and produce cash crops like cocoa, and rubber. These farm-lands were catering organized into registered group after acquiring the required legislation. The purpose was to increase production, processing and marketing of their product which at that time was major foreign exchange for the government.
Cooperative thrift and credit society was later introduced in the other part of the country. Since then the cooperative movement has witnessed tremendous growth. Cooperatives are not social units that exists at the mercy of the government but actually are forms of business which aimed at being a liable economic units. Indeed cooperative societies have become well known as an instrument of community development. In rural communities, there are different types of cooperative societies that exist depending on the needs of the members and the bye-law that guide such societies.some of these societies are:
(1) Farmers Cooperative Society:
This form of cooperative involves the provision of cultivation land by rural farmers.
(2) Marketing Cooperative Society:
Rural farmers whose need is to market their produce usually form this kind of cooperative. Marketing cooperative undertakes the assembly processing grading storage and selling of form produce of all types.
(3) Consumer Cooperative:
This involves the establishment of consumer sops where the basic essential needs of the members are sold to them at a relatively cheap price.
(4) Cooperative Thrift and Credit Society:
This type of cooperative society engage in the mobilization of funds from the rural people and serving the need of members to enable them carry out their agricultural activities.
(5) Multipurpose Cooperative Society:
As the name goes, it is a society that is empowered by bye-laws to lenders multiple service to its members.
The recent increase in the formation of new co-operative society in the country is a clear indication that many people and institutions alike have found co-operative societies of a useful tool in the furthering different interests.
Therefore, in the review of the essentials of cooperative societies, it is hence pivotal to examine their roles towards the development of rural communities.
1.2 Statement of the Problem.
Ihomoju (1988), claimed that the establishment of co-operative society could enhance the standard of living of the masses, contribute to the education of member and facilitate the marketing activities of farmers. In view, co-operative movement are in the best position to stimulate food production through extension of credits to the co-operatives as well as the financing of large scale food production scheme in the rural areas. despite the significance of cooperative societies on agriculture, there are many other essential contribution of CS in a society as outlined in the background of this study. Regardless of the paramount nature of CS, it has encountered several challenges ranging from poor cooperative among the rural people, problems of literacy as most of the rural people are for development etc. Hence this study will in the view of the above examine the role of cooperative societies as regards to rural communities developments and the challenges they have experienced.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The general objective of the study is to appraise the role of the co-operative towards the development of rural communities in Nigeria.
The specific objectives include;
- Examine weather co-operative societies are paramount in achieving all round development in rural communities in Nigeria.
- Identify the essential roles played by cooperative societies towards the development of rural communities in Nigeria.
- Identify the challenges faced by cooperative societies in Nigeria.
1.4 Research Hypothesis
The research hypothesis for the study were made up of the following:-
- H01: Co-operative societies are not paramount in achieving all round development in rural communities in Nigeria.
- H02: Areas with co-operative societies do not gain more government attention than those without co-operative societies.
1.5 Significance of the Study
The significance of this study cannot in any way be over emphasized. This research work “The role of co-operative societies in rural development” will in no doubt be of immense benefits to the co-operatives societies in Nigeria as the various problems affecting their effective performance will be unveiled. And will also help find solution to some problems associated with cooperatives. Secondly, the study will bring to limit the hidden importance of co-operative societies, thus, generating a greater degree of government support.
Finally, the study of this will be meaningful to other scholars who will carryout further research in these fields. It could also be useful to the following.
- Cooperative societies
1.6 Scope of Study
This study is specifically focused on examining weather co-operative societies are paramount in achieving all round development in rural communities in Nigeria, identifying the essential roles played by cooperative societies towards the development of rural communities in Nigeria and the challenges faced by cooperative societies in Nigeria. Hence the study will be delimited to Kogi State, Nigeria.
1.7 Limitation of Study
During the course of the study challenges encountered were exclusively but not delimited to the following numerous. These are;
The research was face with problem of inadequate fund which hinder the researcher from shuttering to Access Banks within Lagos more so in printing and collation of questionnaires.
Time factor pose another constraint since having to cope in this research which went simultaneously within the time schedule of other academic work making it impossible to undertake this study in large more representative skill.
1.8 Definition of Terms
The following terms are defined as they are used in the study.
A co-operative society has been defined as an association of persons usually of limited means, who have voluntarily joined together to solve their economic and social problems through the formation of democratically controlled business organization, making equitable contribution to the capital required and accepting a fair share of the risks and benefits of the undertaking.
It is a process whereby concerted efforts are made in order to facilitate significant increase in rural resource productivity with the overall objectives of enhancing much incomes and increasing employment opportunities in rural communities.
Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations:
This chapter summarizes the findings on the role of co-operate societies towards the development of rural communities In Nigeria using selected cooperative societies in Kogi State as case study. The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.
5.2 Summary of the Study
In this study, our focus was to examine the role of co-operate societies towards the development of rural communities In Nigeria using selected cooperative societies in Kogi State as case study. The study specifically was aimed at examining weather co-operative societies are paramount in achieving all round development in rural communities in Nigeria, identifying the essential roles played by cooperative societies towards the development of rural communities in Nigeria and identifying the challenges faced by cooperative societies in Nigeria.
The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 100 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are staff/members of the selected cooperative societies in Kogi State.
In a country where development is under pressure, formation and sustainability of cooperative societies could obviously be a formidable factor in our quests for development. All over the continent of Africa, Asia, South and North America, Europe and Australia, Cooperatives derive their relevance not only in the urban areas but also in the semi-urban and rural villages located thousands of miles from the capital head quarters. Cooperative is practiced in metropolitan as well as in cosmopolitan headquarters. The uniqueness of cooperative and its flexibility permits it to be practiced among farmers, artisans, industrial and commercial workers, drivers, market men and women, student, daily laborers etc. Membership of cooperatives cut across men and women, the rich and the poor, the life rate and the illiterate, the might and the low. Based on the findings of this study, the researcher made the following conclusion.
- Co-operative societies are paramount in achieving all round development in rural communities in Nigeria.
- Areas with co-operative societies gain more government attention than those without co-operative societies.
With respect to the findings of the study, the researcher recommend that;
- Government should come out with a clear policy on cooperatives. There should be a firm choice between state sponsorship without control, autonomy of cooperatives without assistance and state sponsorship with control. Cooperatives are still in their infancy inNigeria and must therefore be sponsored without government control.
- Cooperatives should employ full-time employees and a properly coordinated training programme drawn up for them.
- Government and its development partners should design an educational programme whereby cooperatives would be taught at all levels of education as an academic discipline-especially at primary and secondary schools so as to catch or ignite the cooperative spirit early in life.
- An efficient organizational structure for the entire national cooperative movement should be worked out so that the functional relationships between cooperatives at various levels will be such that will improve on the efficacy of the cooperative movement.
- There must be sustained cooperative education in order to enlighten members on their roles and to show the general public the important roles cooperatives can play in their lives and the development process.
- The financial institutions should not be biased against cooperative societies.
- Cooperatives should be assessed based on their own merit being a non-profit making organization. The researcher however calls on the federal government to enforce„ circular 21 of 1991‟. This circular requires all banks in Nigeria to give 20 percent of their net operating capital to agriculture and cooperatives. This enforcement will no doubt turn things around in agriculture and rural development sector.
- Adequate capital must be made available to cooperatives and possibly on soft terms at least for some few years.
- There must be close working relationship between agricultural development agencies and cooperatives.
- The Fadama programme should not be allowed to fail.
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