THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF FARMERS’ COOPERATIVES IN THE JEMAA AREA OF KADUNA STATE, NIGERIA » Download Project Topics

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THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF FARMERS’ COOPERATIVES IN THE JEMAA AREA OF KADUNA STATE, NIGERIA

Abstract:

The achievement of rapid and sustained increases in agricultural productivity and rural welfare, which currently forms the cornerstone of Nigeria’s development policy, does not only hinge around the use of modern agrotechnology but also entails the evolutioin, propriate organizations and institutions which will facilitate the mobilization of the rural producers for increased productivity and create the rig socio-economic atmosphere for a poverty-alleviating pattern of rural development. Cooperatives are widely considered as the most appropriate institutions for inducing and enabling the peasant producers to expand and improve their production, and for facilitating the equitable distribution of the benefits of development among the rural population. This study has examined the extent to which cooperatives in Nigeria have served as mechanisms for mobilizing the country’s millions of peasant producers for rural development* It has been found that cooperatives are largely irrelevant , or at best tangential, to the production and living conditions of the majority of rural producers. The country’s agricultural cooperatives serve only about 5% or less of the rural population; and this 5% is drawn mostly from the better-off class of rural elites. Instead of assisting the poor majority of peasants to improve their productivity and living standards, the benefits of these cooperatives have been reaped mostly by the weathier sub-stratum of rural society. The operational performance of these cooperatives has been found to be both corrupt and unsatisfactory because the emerging rural bourgeoisie which dominate these cooperative have seen them essentially as avenues for acquiring stateloans and other forms of capital for their own private expansion and enrichment. The spirit of self-reliance through regular thrift savings5 the collective effort, active involvement and personal sacrifices which cooperation Lis; and the material and < zational support which form the bedrock of cooperative activity are not only wanting in the cooperatives but have been replaced by the opposite attitudes of opportunism, individualism and. dependence en government assistance. It has been argued that the concentration of cooperative benefits in the hands of the rural elite as well as the opportunistic orientation of their members can only be understand within the context of Nigeria’s capitalist path of development. The principles, structure and ideology of these cooperatives are in line with, and encourage, agrarian capitalist development whose fundamental essence does not lie in the mobilization of the small-scale peasant producers but in the creation of a small class of efficient and large-scale a farmers. Contrary to people’s expectations, the pumping of mi state resources into the cooperative movement in the name assisting the small-seal iants tends to achieve the result of consolidating the rural bourgeoisie and laying foundation for the marginalization and proletarianization of the peasantry. What is needed is an entirely new oo< model which stems from, and reflects, the needs and aspirations of the peasantry, and not a cooperative machinery designed and financed by the state to serve the interests of the ruling class.

THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF FARMERS’ COOPERATIVES IN THE JEMAA AREA OF KADUNA STATE, NIGERIA


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