This study is carried out to find the problems of cooperative in the marketing of agricultural food products in Enugu zone of Enugu State. The study became necessary because of the recent increases in the price of food crop in the country. Because of time lapses, a survey sample was used to study the entire population covering Oji-River, Udi, Enugu North, Enugu South, Awgu and Ezeagu local government areas of the state. Direct sampling methods was used in administering the questionnaire. The data collected was analyzed using percentages and pie chart. The results in this study have shown that although price of food crops marketed by the co-operatives is moderate, its not stable. Inadequate storage facilities have a significant effect on the efficient marketing of food crops by the co-operatives. That there is correspondence between the demand for food crops marketed by co-operative and the consumers educational level attained from the findings, the researcher made the following recommendations:
That the state government should give financial aid to these co-operators for a better and efficient running of their affairs by the management. That since price is one of the marketing variables within the control of management, the management of these co-operative should put forth efforts aimed at maintaining fair and stable prices of food crops bearing in mind that the co-operative organization is for service and not entirely profit oriented.
That effort should be geared on the improvement of storage facilities. Also that the state government should help to educate farmer through their co-operatives as a means of improving production and marketing of agricultural products.
Finally, the effort of transportation on the co-operative societies are so severe that they encounter a heavier barrier or difficulty while marketing their food crops and therefore call for an improvement in the existing means of transportation or to create one where non exist.
The co-operative society was principally aimed at organizing non-profit making institutions that would protect its members from exploitation by capitalist shop owners who sold goods at exorbitant prices. The origin of co-operative societies dates back to 1844 in Rochadale, a town in Britain. Twenty eight artisans, called the “Rochdale Pioneers contributed a few pence per week, with this amount, they started a retail shop. Members bought cheaply from their shop and profits were distributed to members in pro-portion to the amount of business done through the co-operative. A much greater measure of success has been attended on the development of consumer’s co-operative societies though not without some difficulties, which eventually stopped many from existing.
Almost every community is Nigeria with reference to the local governments in Enugu zone chosen practices one form of co-operative society and this enhances the rapid development, the society nationwide. With this regard, we were made to know that agricultural products that were produced in different parts of the country should be distributed equitably or almost. In the course of the distribution, people do come together and pull their meager resources together for an efficient distribution of these goods.
Efficient distribution determine the quantities and prices of this products that come into the market. Contrarily, if poorly distributed, the producers will find it difficult to market their products individually. In attempt to maintain stable prices of farm products and minimize the excesses of middlemen, many producers have decided to form food crops co-operative society in their zones and extended it to almost all the communities in the local government entirely. The objectives of forming the co-operative society includes:
To market the food crops of member to their best advantage
Raising of funds for which loans can be granted to members for products purposes.
Obtaining supply of raw materials such as fertilizer provision of other essential services to the members such as procuring the necessary of most needed goods at wholesale prices.
Obtaining of good essential services for their members like, loans at a reasonable interest from lending houses.
However, in doing these duties, which are marketing of food crop for the members interest, raising of internal funds to give to the members as loan, obtaining loan from lending and discount houses or financial institutions, obtaining raw materials and doing other services to their member, the co-operators ran into some difficulties and other or problems. It is this problem that the researcher is out to find as well as recommending for their total elimination.
In the local government under Enugu zone self sufficiency in food production is given the highest priority as well as in the state and in the entire country. Food production is carries out or it mainly produced locally for home consumption. Out or it mainly produced locally for home consumption average of this farmers who care to join co-operative societies are experiencing considerably difficulty mainly in the sale of their food crops. This arises from the current development of non-availability of food crops at reasonable price coupled with the scarcity of essential commodities and hearing of food crops by in surplus marketing agents. Majority of consumers complains that co-operators operate like the close shop to the exclusion of non-members. The co-operators themselves complain of the following as their major problems.
Epileptic or instability of price of foods crops.
Inadequate infrastructural facilities for production
Lack of storage facilities
Distribution and marketing of food crops as a result of which loses are incurred due to spoilage of quality.
These failing and weaknesses are the major reasons why meaning food crop producers see co-operatives as a dumping ground for their products. The relevant question now is how do we improve our marketing operations to the satisfaction of both members and their potential customers. The burden of this study therefore is to provide as answers to the questions.
The objectives of this study generally are to find out the problems encountered while marketing agricultural products by the co-operators in the society with particular reference to Enugu zone. Enugu zone with six local government and a population above 500,000 people with only an average of one co-operative society in one local government are now facing serious problems in the marketing of their product in zone. Specially, the study is meant:
To assess the nature of good road networks
Determine the storage facilities with a view to ensure an acceptable standard.
Assessment of their knowledge of price system in marketing of their products.
Assessment of the distribution facility with a view to ensuring an acceptable standard.
Ascertainment of the educational background of the co-operators.
Does transportation problem in any way disrupt the marketing of your products?
Does price instability in any way affect the expansion of the co-operators production?
Has lack of equal distribution of agricultural product problem in any way affects the image of the co-operators
What type of farm implements do you use?
How does storage facilities affects them?
To what extent, does lack of capital militate against farming activities in your area.
This project is important to the society and students of co-Operative who are making or intending to make research societies in the near future. It is also significant to co-operative or potential investors as it gives them insight into the nature of co-operatives societies and benefits that exist in the areas of co-operative society.
Furthermore, it gives the reader an insight into the role played by co-operative society in the marketing and production of food crops in the area of operations. However, another significant aspects of this study are to provide a guide to clearing of certain misconceptions about co-operative societies.
The study would also emphasize the need for forming co-operative societies in the rural areas. In addition, the project can also serve as readily material for leisure period.
Lack of data: Data on all the farmers who belong to food crops co-operative societies in Enugu zone were difficult to come by.
Time factor: The time allowable for the research were in a fact short especially when such research work must be combined with lectures and studies.
Financial Constraint: Within the time of this research work, sufficient fund was not within the reach of the researcher because of the present economic crunch in the country. This scarcity of fund acted restrictively as prices of things were rising every hour of the day.
ILLITERACY AS A FACTOR:This is where the researcher encountered a heavy barrier, because 70% of the co-operators interviewed of given the questionnaire felt reluctant to sign mainly due to lack of understanding.
Several attempts have been made as regards to the definition of co-operative societies both by foreign authors and their local counterparts.
According to Erdman and Tincey, “a co-operative society or association is a voluntary association of person with a common interest, formed and operated along democratic lines for the purpose of supplying services at cost to its members, who contributed both capital and business.
Okonkwo J.N, a local author put in his “A co-operative society is a voluntary association of free and independent persons for the betterment of their members economic conditions.
Ogbuu C.C. 1975, in his own opinion, looks at co-operative society as an association of persons as human beings on the basis of equality for the achievement of their economic goods”.
Egbua C.C, defined co-operative organizations in 1986 as an association of persons having usually a limited means of income who have voluntarily come together to form democratically controlled business organizations by material equitable contribution to the capital required, and agreeing to share equity the risk of benefits that will result from the undertakings.
Oladeji in 1982 page 250 put in his by defining co-operative society as an enterprise that derives it strength from the interest and patronage of its members who provide nearly all its finance, own, manage and control its operators. Walter (1960) put his own contribution by defining co-operative society as the application of brotherhood in the economy. Whatever definition may be given to the co-operation society, the following kings or principles will be observed.
There must be an objective mainly for the interest of the members.
Entry and exist must be voluntary, no one can be forced to come either into the association or out of it. The entry and the exit are voluntary in other words a free will.
In the research opinion, co-operative society is defined as a fusion of individuals voluntarily with the same business or trade incentives carryout business activities for the interest of the members.