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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Qualitative elements constituting effective agricultural cooperatives among rural smallscale farmers
Authors:Thamaga-Chitja, Joyce M.ISNI
Dlamini, Thulile R.ISNI
Makanda, ItaiISNI
Periodical:Indilinga: African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:agricultural cooperatives
small farms
External link:https://hdl.handle.net/10520/EJC61390
Abstract:Agricultural cooperatives like all cooperatives are built on the principle of cooperation and community spirit, also known as ubuntu in South Africa. They are widely promoted as a positive force for collective effort in smallholder agriculture development. However, research suggests that they generally have not been successful in the South African small-scale farming context. The authors developed an agricultural cooperative effectiveness analysis framework based on objective, operational and marketing information to analyse the effectiveness of South African agricultural cooperatives. They found that the cooperatives generally fell within the government's set objectives for cooperatives, but that they were largely ineffective because of a number of factors. The objectives and activities of the farmers were found to be hampered by internal factors, including low capabilities of the cooperative to mobilize and utilize their limited resources, and low capabilities for management of institutional arrangements. Further, lack of external support such as funding, education and extension services also contributed to the ineffectiveness of the cooperatives. Apart from the small landholdings which limited farmers' expansion in order to meet the high produce demand, the land tenure system legally prohibited farmers from using land as collateral for obtaining loans from funding institutions. Therefore, there were serious undercapitalization issues within the cooperatives. Improvement of internal factors, such as pooling resources, putting in place legal frameworks governing the cooperatives and improving communication lines is suggested as a way towards more effective cooperatives. External support in the form of funding, improvements in infrastructure, access to farmer education and information and favourable land tenure arrangements is also suggested. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]