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THE ROLE OF COOPERATIVE SOCIETIES IN POVERTY ALLEVIATION AMONG CROP FARMERS IN BENUE STATE, NIGERIA

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THE ROLE OF COOPERATIVE SOCIETIES IN POVERTY ALLEVIATION AMONG CROP FARMERS IN BENUE STATE, NIGERIA

 

 

Abstract

Poverty has remained endemic among small scale farmers in rural areas of most developing societies including Nigeria. The failure of government designed alleviation strategies to bring the desired succour to the suffering rural populace has presented cooperative societies as a strong and viable channel for rural and agricultural transformation. It is against this backdrop that the study investigated the role of cooperatives in reducing poverty among crop farmers in Benue State. The study specifically assessed some roles of cooperatives in poverty reduction as well as challenges militating against cooperatives. This paper utilized secondary data obtained from textbooks, research reports, journals and internet sources. The collective Action theory was used to guide the study. The paper revealed the roles of cooperative societies in poverty alleviation among crop farmers to include but not limited to providing credit at low interest rate, providing goods and services at low cost, expunging the exploitation of the middlemen, protecting the rights of the less privileged, protecting the rights of producers and consumers; and sensitizing and educating members of cooperatives. Challenges identified as hampering these roles include low education and illiteracy of members, low capital base, high interest rates, lack of access to farmland; poor management style, small membership and lack of adequate government support which affects the management of cooperatives. The paper concluded that cooperative societies have impacted crop farmers in Benue State positively, although much is desired to be done. In the light of the above it was recommended that farmers should be timely provided with farm inputs and services; adequate awareness campaign should be created to ensure that farmers join cooperative societies

 

Keywords: Agriculture, Benue State, Cooperative Societies, Crop farmers, Poverty alleviation