|JAFE Vol. 6 (4): 40-52, 2019|
|Okwuokenye, G.F. and Iduseri. E.O.|
The study looked at the influence of cooperative societies in the economic empowerment of rural household farmers in Bayelsa State. The study described the farm characteristics of the farmers, ascertained the major farm activities engaged in by the farmers, determined the farmers’ sources of funding used for farming activities, determined the extent participation in groups has improved the farmers economic status and, determined and compared the income levels of cooperators before and after membership of their cooperative societies in the study area. The study used both primary and secondary sources of data and also used questionnaire and interview schedule as question instruments. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the data to meet the objectives and hypotheses of the study. Results revealed that majority (59.16%) of the respondents were civil servants, with a larger proportion (73.24%) being part-time farmers, and most (67.61%) of them using family labour as a source of farm labour. Also, the respondents’ average farm size, farm experience and credit received were 3.02 ha, 11.66 years and N282,394.37 respectively. The major activities engaged in by the cooperatives were savings and loans, provision of credit and processing of some farm products. In addition, sources of cooperators capital were payment of dues and special contribution by members. The average farm income of respondents before and after group’s membership was respectively N193,661.97 and N279,577.46. The income difference (N87,915.49) showed the impart of active participation in the farmers’ cooperative societies. Multiple regression showed farm variables like source of farm labour, farm size, credit received by members and farming experience to be significantly related to level of economic empowerment. The study thus recommends that all the farmers should be encouraged to participate at a high level in their cooperative societies.
|Keywords:||Rural households, cooperators, farm income, credit, farmers, cooperative societies|