The project work was carried out to find the “Problems and Prospects of Agricultural Cooperative towards Economic Development. A lot of finding were made on this project work which propelled me to summarize that, prospects of agricultural cooperative towards economic development has contributed a lot to economic development. That is to say, it has done more good than harm, based on the research and analysis. I found out that there are positive impact ranging from having adequate storage and processing facilities transportation facilities, good roads leading to the rural areas, good supervision and sufficient fund etc. Prospects of agricultural cooperatives towards economic development were formed to help cooperator by assembling storage and processing agriculture product. It is obvious that any state without a cooperative society is both physically and socially unsound. However, performance is needed in prospects of agricultural cooperative towards economic development, in Imo State. It has been analyzed and recommended possible solutions. Therefore government should as a matter of necessity attach primary solution in their agenda. More grace to cooperative societies in Imo State and more grace to government of Imo State.
Agriculture is still the main base of economic development through cooperative societies. Government have seen the important role cooperative play towards human development, rural transformation and growth in the national economy as well as realization of its millennium development goals hence its participation in all aspect of cooperative development goals in the developing economy. Although cooperative society is a business, yet it is a business organization built on the felt needs or the people desire to solve their most pressing common problems.
Cooperative towards agricultural production builds economic development. Cooperative society was a philosophy of life which a group of people adopted to help themselves solve the economic problems of the time. The cooperative movement was an invention of necessity. It was an attempt to find a solution to the problems of industrial revolution that gave rise to cooperative society.
The industrial revolution started with the invention of different machines that displaced thousands of workers in the factories. The owners of the factories were capitalists who were only interested in making profit at the exploitation of the workers.
The attendant evils the industrial resolution brought include: long hours of work, sometimes up to 16 hours a day, very poor salaries, often below subsistence level, unhealthy or unsanitary surroundings on the factories that led to disease and high price of commodity, adulteration of goods. There were also cutthroat competition, jealousy, greed and avarice and industrial unrest. In the midst of all these, workers cried out to the government to come to their rescue, to help them ameliorate their economic and social condition. The British government paid a deaf ear to their pleading, because they had a policy of non-intervention with the private affairs of the people. The factory worker continued to suffer exploitation from the factory masters as well as the traders and middlemen. The workers were helpless, dejected, rejected and frustrated. Their situation attracted the sympathy of Christians socialists and other groups of people. They spoke against social evil of get-rich-quick.
The social reformers and public spirited people called upon government to intervene and redress the evils of the factory system by passing factor acts to regulate the hours of work. The appeal also fell on deaf ears, until people the worker started crisis. Meanwhile they are some good socialist that fought for the workers. Robert Owen, Dr. William King, stated that cooperative movement is that practiced today.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Agriculture is and still remains an important sector of the Oru-West. Agriculture still remains a sector of the Nigerian economy in spite of the importance of crude oil which has been unduly emphasized on agriculture; its practice has remained within a subsistence level at a time in the past.
Reports from the food and agricultural organizations shows that by the year 2013, Nigeria will be able to meet only 47 percentage of the food needs of its projected 150 million people. No doubt agriculture provide the greatest avenue for employment, income and food for the Nigeria populace its intrinsic position as a source of raw-materials for key industries and a major source of foreign exchange earning has further added to its prominence among all known occupation. However, the performance of this sector as regards agricultural production varied widely over the past two decades the enabling environment prevalent at different point in time, have greatly influenced it.
Apparently, agricultural cooperative to a larger extent may be said to begin when farmers plan their output or the expected market prices. Normally, consumers are interested in securing the highest food value at the lowest possible price while at the same time, farmer want the highest possible returns from the sale of their produces. Along the line middlemen seek to earn the greatest possible profit pricing policies and behaviours are therefore important indicators to both the middlemen and the society in general. To explain further to the society, price directly effect aggregate price levels of the economy and hence consumers welfare. Agriculture products uniquely depend on an adequate and flexible transportation system that is why the Oru-West Cooperative Society focus on the geographic movement to acquire market value and also because of the extent to which climate or weather determines where or when and in what quantity transportation service will be needed.
This study tends to look into the problems and prospects of agricultural cooperative within a state and create the need for exchange which in the other hand calls for the might or important middlemen.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Agricultural production in Imo State has drastically been reduced and this has occasioned scarcity of food in the homes and for export. The situation is different from what it was before when there were abundant food for population and for sale. The present predicament of scarcity in the agriculture sector has let both the consumers and the industrial users to look for explanation to this.
A lot of reasons could be adduced for the short fall that could be traceable to this include the city disturbance in the country increasing rate and population growth. Other factors include draught, unfavorable external environment and inadequate funding for agriculture and development in some of the activities that suppose to backup cooperative are still lacked or not fully utilized.
Most times, agriculture in Imo State are confronted with limited production by design due to lack of facilities of processing and storage. When this is the case, agricultural producers tend to remain only on the subsistence level with little to offer to the market. Despite the enormous resources injected by the government into the sector after the civil war, the impact of the production did not matched and the volume of resources expended on the sector as the agricultural product production stagnated at less than one prevalent annual population growth rate.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of the study is to evaluate the problems and prospects of agricultural cooperative as the study of Oru-West L.G.A. The study intended to look into the following objectives which includes:
1. Find out the problems agriculture is facing in Oru West and its solution.
2. Find out if agriculture is a tool for economic development in Imo State (Oru West).
3. Find out the practice of agriculture in Oru West
4. Find out how to implement mechanized farming in Oru West.
5. Find out government roles in agricultural practices in Imo State (Oru West).
6. Ascertain if there are still practice of peasant farming in Oru West.
7. Find out the modern equipment used for farming and it technical know-how.
8. Find out ways of improving agricultural production in Oru West.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. Is agriculture facing problems in Oru West?
2. Is agriculture a tool for economic development?
3. Is agriculture properly practiced in Oru West?
4. Mechanized farming, can it improved the agricultural standard in Oru West?
5. Is government involved in agricultural practice in Imo or Oru West?
6. Does peasant farming provides enough for in Oru West?
7. Is there any modern equipment for agricultural farming?
8. Can improvement in Agriculture boost food production in Oru-West entire Imo State?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Agricultural planning and development have began to receive some attention in many developing countries. The importance place on agriculture has to do with the experience of those countries which is in constant short supply of food. Many agricultural programme were enunciated by the different regimes ranging from green revolution to operation feed the nation down to Imo State agrarian revolution or River State back to land schemes. All these efforts are aimed substantially to increasing the agricultural product production.
In between the producers and consumers are the cooperative activities and the satisfaction of the consumers depends to a large extent on how these activities are carried out. However, lack of adequate cooperative may cause shortage in some instances thereby increasing the price of the product in particular area while, other experience are surplus with attendant low price.
The study is intended to provide necessary information to the consumers, producers and to the government on how to improve the agricultural product and such improvement will check on the continues, scarcity of the product and thereby enhancing exportation which will help in foreign exchange of the country.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
For the purpose of effective research, some of the towns in Oru Local Government Area were selected i.e. Amokwe Nachi, Umabi, Umuaga, Eke, Oghe. Reasons for the selection of towns is to enable the researcher have an in depth study of Oru Local Government and draw a wide conclusion of how the present cooperative systems in Oru local government affects the cooperative of palm produce as an agriculture product.
1.7 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Imo collection in particular and the research as a whole was not smooth as expected. This is attributed to many foreseen and unforeseen problems. One of such problems includes the uncooperative attitudes of respondents. They did not understand the relevance of the study and though that government was trying to collect names of taxable adults. So this made the reliability of information supplied by some respondents doubtful.
There was also the problem of bureaucratic rebaptism especially with the various planning agency from which information where sought. Some of the information regained by the researcher could not be supplied as they term them top secret. This also affected the research in some ways.
Lastly limitation by factors of time and finance. The limited time at the researcher disposal did not allow for choosing a large sample or even study the population. This also limited extend to which the research findings could be generalized. Finance plays a vital role in any research work. As an individual and above all students, the researcher was financially handicapped. This also affects the research.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Poultry: This word embraces all domesticated birds such as turkey thing or substance produced by a natural poultry farmer, (Oxford Advance Learners Dictionary).
Poultry Product: This includes such products eggs, chickens (fowls) ducks geese, turkey’s guinea fowl, swan, quail ostrich, pea-fowls peacock.
Agricultural Cooperative of Poultry Product: This is defined as an aspect of the entire agricultural cooperative and concerning poultries products. (Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary).
Malnutrition: Condition caused by not getting enough food or enough portentous foods condition resulting from a lack of right type of food (Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary).
Agricultural Cooperative Mix: This is a term used to describe which constitute the core of a company’s agricultural cooperative variables comprising the four p. (product, place, price and promotion) which the firm uses to operate successfully within the agricultural cooperative environment (Adirika, Ebue and Nnolim, 1996)
Demand: This is the qualities of commodity which consumers are willing and able to buy at a particular price and a given time. Desire of customers for goods or services which they wish to pay or used (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary).
Hatching: This is the 21 days incubation period of domestic fowl. (Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary). Hatch out of a young bird of fish etc) emerge from an egg where by egg to produce a young bird.
Mechanized Farming: This refers to the use of animals in the operation of farm implements and tools. It is also the use of modern farm implements to replace the old ones example are hoes and cutlasses being replaced by the use of tractors, ploughs and riggers. Change a process factory etc so that is run by machines rather than people or animals (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary).
Promotional Activities: This refers to activities involved in communication with the target audience and persuading them to purchase one product. It sacks to inform and influence. The promotional activities include advertising, public relation, sales promotion and personal selling (Adirika, Ebue and Nnolim, 1996).
Postulated: Demand out forward, take for granted as a necessary fact, as a basis for reasoning which may be considered axiomatic. Putting something forward as a fact or accept something as true, especially as basic for reasoning or argument (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary).
Luxury: Regular use and enjoyment of the best and most expensive food, drink, cloths, and surroundings things that please the senses (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary).
Agricultural Cooperative: The Institute of Agricultural Cooperative defined it as a management process responsible for identification and satisfying consumer or customer requirement profitable through an exchange made effectively and efficiently. Principle and practice of agricultural cooperative (Ebue, 1996).
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