Faculty: Management Sciences
Department: Co-opreative Economics And Management
Okonkwo, P. C.
Umebali, E. E.
In developing countries like Nigeria, agriculture dominates the economy. It has been established that about 70 percent of Nigeria population is engaged in agriculture, while 90 percent of Nigeria total food production comes from small farms and 60 percent of the country population earn their living from these small farms. The recent importation of food items into the country to make up for the shortfalls in food supply is a dangerous indication of dwindling farm productivity and warning sign that if the nation continue with the business as usual, the prospect of food security will be bleak for millions of people, hence the need for agricultural cooperatives. The broad objective of this study is to evaluate the effects of agricultural cooperatives on agricultural crop production in Enugu State. The specific objectives are to examine the relationship between farm output of farmers and years of cooperative membership; determine influence of farm inputs, credit and agricultural extension services obtained from cooperative on farm output; relate efficiency levels of farm input utilization to years of cooperative membership and relate profitability on sales of agricultural products to years of cooperative membership. The research was conducted to determine the effect of cooperative on agricultural production in Enugu State, Nigeria. Multi-stage sampling procedure was used to select 737 respondents from 68 agricultural cooperatives in the study area. Descriptive statistics, Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), and multiple regressions were used in the test of hypothesis and analysis. The results showed that from the ANOVA estimates of the value of farm outputs of the various categories of years in cooperative membership, an F ratio with a value of 7.332 was seen to be significant at 1% level, thereby leading to the conclusion that agricultural output of farmers is significantly influenced by their years of cooperative membership: Again, following an analysis of production function, an F ratio measuring the aggregate effect of all the explanatory variables (farm inputs, seedlings, fertilizer, chemicals credit and extension contacts) on farm output was estimated to be 7.454, which was significant at the 1% level of significant. In another result, the correlation between gross income and years in cooperative membership was significant, r (735) = 0.980, p < 0.001 and the correlation between net income and years in cooperative membership was also significant, r (735) = 0.420, p < 0.001. Results from the study have shown that cooperative is a credible platform for promoting agricultural crop production. Cooperatives have through their activities ensured affordable farm inputs and credits. The study recommends that cooperative members have proved their mettle as far as efficiency in the use of production resources is concerned therefore Government at the Federal, state and local levels should place cooperative in the fore front of their agricultural programmes in other to ensure efficient use of agricultural production resources; cooperative awareness campaigns should be embarked upon by both the government and the cooperative movement to sensitive farmers on the benefits of cooperative membership via supply of quality and affordable farm inputs.