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Title:Returns to scope? Smallholders' commercialisation through multipurpose cooperatives in Ethiopia
Authors:Bernard, Tanguy
Taffesse, Alemayehu SeyoumISNI
Periodical:Journal of African Economies (ISSN 0963-8024)
Geographic term:Ethiopia
Subjects:marketing cooperatives
small farms
grain marketing
Abstract:This paper addresses the extent to which the scope of smallholder cooperatives' activities may affect their performance in marketing their members' surplus output. Previous papers have highlighted such effects and explained it by the extra burden that diversified activities impose on the often limited management capacities of these organizations. The present authors propose an alternative explanation, linking the scope of activities to membership structure: marketing cooperatives engaging in a vast array of unrelated activities may lose their marketing-oriented members in return for members more interested in the new activities proposed, thereby reducing the potential for product aggregation. The model's predictions are supported by recent data on 172 smallholder grain marketing cooperatives in Ethiopia. Implications for the support of farmers' organizations are derived and discussed in conclusion. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]