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CONTRIBUTIONS OF COOPERATIVE SOCIETIES TO VEGETABLE PRODUCTION AMONG WOMEN FARMERS IN IBARAPA NORTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF OYO STATE, NIGERIA
ABSTRACT: The study examined the contribution of cooperative societies to vegetable production among women in Ibarapa North Local government area of Oyo State. A multistage sampling procedure was used to select 120 women vegetable farmers from 10 villages. Data was collected with questionnaires and interview guide, data were analysed using descriptive statistics such as frequency counts, mean and percentages for specific objectives, chi-square statistics was used to draw inferences. The study found out that the mean age of women was 43.7years, more than half (66.6%) took farming as major occupation and mean household size was 3.5 persons. Average years spent in vegetable production was 16.6years and majority (76.7%) of the women cultivates about 3 acres of land and has spent about 14 years in vegetable production. women cultivate different types of vegetable and also belong to more than one cooperative society. The women also submitted that cooperative societies have helped them in diverse ways among which are financial assistance (92.2%) marketing of vegetable (92.5%) and in the purchase of input. Major constraints faced by women in the operation of the cooperative societies they belong were untimely access to fund (55.8%), inability to refund loan by members (49.1%) and mismanagement of fund by executives (49%). Chi-square result show a significant relationship between education (x=10.619, p=0.031), years spent in vegetable production (x=38.961, P=0.000) and contribution of cooperatives to vegetable production. The study therefore recommends that women should be encouraged to take loans and be educated on how to refund loans with ease as this will help increase their production level and improve their well-being.
KEYWORDS: Vegetable production, cooperative societies, women farmers.