OpEd, Politics

The Need to Form Agricultural Cooperatives for Socio-economic Development

By Joseph Akim Gordon

A cooperative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their mutual economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise organized and operated on cooperative principles. An agricultural cooperative is a cooperative that produces, processes, or markets agricultural products and supplies agricultural inputs and services to its members.

An agricultural cooperative is characterized by an association of persons, it is formed on a voluntary basis, members with mutual or common economic, social and cultural needs, jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise and with cooperative principles. The values of agricultural cooperatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity, cooperative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.

Agricultural cooperatives are governed by a number of principles including.

  • Democratic principles
  • Voluntary and open membership
  • Autonomy and independence
  • Educational training and information
  • Concern of the community
  • Economic participation of members

The need to form agricultural co-operatives, and the reasons why groups of farmers could wish to form agricultural co-operatives. namely to supply inputs or provide processing and marketing services.

The importance of agricultural co-operatives is for job creation, mobilizing resources, generating investment and their contribution to the economy. Their various forms of agricultural co-operatives promote the fullest participation in the economy and social development of all the people.

People form agricultural co-operatives to improve their income or economic position to provide a needed service. This may be achieved by one or more of the following:

  • Improved bargaining power: Combining the volume of several members leverages their position when dealing with other business.
  • Reduced purchasing power: volume purchasing reduces the purchasing price of needed supplies. Earnings of cooperative returned to individual members lower their net costs.
  • Obtaining market access or value is added to products by processing or offering larger quantities of an assured type and quality to attract more buyers.
  • Improve products or service quality: Members’ satisfaction is achieved by adding value to the products and competition, the co-operatives provide and improve facilities, equipment and services.
  • Obtaining products or services otherwise unavailable: Agricultural co-operatives often provide services or products that would not attract other private businesses.
  • Reduce cost/increase income: Reduce the co-operative’s operating costs, increasing the amount of earnings available for distribution to members to boost their income.

The benefits of forming co-operatives to achieve what one cannot achieve on your own, provide easy access to the needed services, paying less for inputs, marketing, distribution and selling of produce, and processing products if necessary.

Levels of agricultural co-operatives:

  • Primary agricultural co-operative is a co-operative in which all the members are individuals, its purpose is to provide employment or services to its members and to promote community development. It takes a minimum of five persons to form a primary cooperative, each member will benefit as being a member. Members pool their resources to offer services to others. Members can raise funds for the benefit of their colleagues most of primary co-operatives exist at the local level.
  • Secondary agricultural co-operatives: A secondary cooperative is a co-operative in which two or more co-operatives, including juristic persons, can form a secondary co-operative. The members are primarily agricultural co-operatives. The purpose of a secondary cooperative is to provide services to its members relating to the sector in which they are active. Most of the secondary co-operatives exist at the district level secondary co-operative is urban based.
  • Tertiary agricultural co-operatives: It is a co-operative in which two or more secondary.

co-operatives, including juristic persons, can form tertiary co-operatives. The purpose of tertiary agricultural co-operatives is to advocate the interest of the members of co-operatives to govt. bodies, the private sector and other stakeholders.


Types of Agricultural co-operatives: May be organized according to function.

  1. Production co-operatives permit farmers to organize their farms as cooperative corporations.
  2. Supply co-operatives purchase products and services and required inputs for agricultural production for their members.
  3. Service co-operatives provide a wide variety of services and were initially formed to serve farmers with agricultural advice that might be expensive for an individual farmer to obtain.
  4. Agricultural marketing co-operatives are frequently organized according to farm commodities or groups of commodities such as sugar, grains, maize and poultry to produce and store and market cooperative product.
  5. Purchasing co-operatives by supplies and goods and selling the products at reduced prices to the members

In conclusion, the cooperative movement was a booming enterprise funded by Norwegian church aid (NCA) it operated in all parts of South Sudan as a result food commodity prices were under control, and farmers increased their production. Farmers were able to sell their commodities like coffee to Sudan, this enabled farmers to increase production and with proper market channels. The Sudanese traders in South Sudan were failing in their business because market prices were controlled because there were plenty of agricultural commodities in the market, so food commodities brought from Sudan were too expensive because there were plenty of food commodities in the market the market power of supply and demand prevailed. Therefore, if we want to promote food and nutrition security in South Sudan. We must revise the agricultural co-operative movement, there is an urgent need to reorganize agricultural co-operative societies, it will not take long before we realize food and nutrition security, but to start agricultural co-operatives we need to ensure total peace in the country.

The author can be reached through e-mail: akimgordon222@gmail.com


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