The role of co-operative societies in district development: a case study of Atebubu District

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Co-operation is a mutual aid among members to achieve what they cannot do individually. Atebubu District was studied to assess the impact of co-operative societies in district development. Twelve societies out of thirty-four active co-operatives societies were selected and the purposive sampling was used to select the sample. The analysis revealed that, the main reasons for forming co-operative societies in Atebubu District were mutual aids and access to government assistance. The latter was the reason for high rate of dormant societies. The total contributions of all members of co-operative societies in the district are more than 24.5 million Cedis. Unfortunately, most of the co-operative societies in the Atebubu District have problems, such as lack of assets and logistics, therefore, their chances of having access to bank loans are very rare. Concerning institutional support, there are three types of institutions dealing with the cooperative societies: governmental, multilateral and local organisations. Governmental institutions included Department of Co-operatives, District Assembly and Department of Fisheries. The multilateral organisations included the UNDP, FAO, and IFAD, while the only local organisation found was APPLE. Co-operatives in the Atebubu District, especially those who have received financial and technical assistance, have had positive impacts on increasing sales of members,. Also the cooperative societies have had improved access to markets. Moreover, co-operative societies in the Atebubu district have made a significant contribution to the district revenue by facilitating revenue collection. They contribute about 167.4 - 241.6 million Cedis to the district revenue. This represents 17.8 - 25.7 per cent of the total district revenue. Their contribution to employment was 14.8 % of total employment in the district. Members in the district have difficulty in getting access to health facilities. Most of the members are landlords while the others complained about the low income to improve their housing conditions or to own a house. Most of the members also complained about high cost of education. All these problems are due to the low level of net income of members which tends to reduce their economic access to social services. Atebubu District Assembly provides water and sanitation services, to the various communities. A clear understanding of the situation of co-operative societies in the Atebubu District provided the basis for a planned intervention that is needed to enhance the growth and development of the co-operative movement in the district. The following are some of the major recommendations: The co-operative societies in the district should endeavour to forge relations with non-governmental organisations for the purpose of obtaining both financial and technical assistance they should also maintain a closer relationship with the District Assembly. ii. The co-operative societies should work closely with the District Assembly in the construction of markets. In addition, there is the need for the provision of storage facilities as well as the rehabilitation of market roads. iii. The co-operative societies in the district require capacity building in areas of human resource development as well as working environment, notably office space and logistic support. iv. The management committees of the various co-operative societies should organize regular meetings and workshops for their members to raise their awareness of their rights and responsibilities. There is also need for regular meetings among the management committees of the various co-operative societies to share experiences. v. A district Union Fund ( DUF) is proposed. Contribution to the fund could be raised through issue of shares, deposits, and assistance from international bodies such as IFAD. The DUF could operate as a financial institution to provide credit facilities to the members. This way members’ access to credit could be enhanced.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of the Degree of Master of Science in Development Planning and Management, 1997