THE ROLE OF CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETIES TOWARDS DEVELOPMENT OF RURAL AREAS IN GHANA
1.1 INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The problem of developing the rural area has received the attention of many experts and researchers as well as the government. This is because it constitutes a serious bottleneck to the socio-economic development of the country as well as the communities. It is in the light of this, that I have decided to examine how rural areas would be developed with the help or assistance of co-operative societies using Idah local Government as the case study.
Rural development according to Diejomoah (2003) is “ The process of not only increasing the level of per capital income in the rural area but also the standard of living of the rural population measured by food and nutrition level, health, education, housing, recreation and security. Also Rural development according to UNO (1960) is “The process by which the effort of he people themselves are United with effort that of government authorities to improved the economic social and cultural conditions of the rural communities to integrate those community into life of the nation and to enable them contribute meaningful to national development.
Therefore, Rural Development is an integration activity involving the Implementation of programmes of agriculture, health, education, home management, provision of infrastructure and other community facilities under the supervision of the government, its agencies and the local people.
Co-operative society is one of the principal agent of rural development. It is not only an avenue for job opportunities, but also as a training ground for the rural dwellers and other society and economic benefits. Hence, it is a strong factor in the nations economic development.
Helms (2005) on the other hand defines co-operative society as an association of persons who have voluntarily joined together to have a common end through the formation of a democratically controlled enterprise, making equitable contribution to the capital required and accepting a fair share of the risk and benefit of the undertaking in which the member activity participate. On the other hand it could be seen as a voluntarily association of persons having mutual ownership in providing themselves some needed service on non-profit basis usually organized as a legal entity to accomplish objectives through joint participation of its members.
As it is, the problem faced by the rural dwellers in Nigeria today is complex. It is those in the rural areas who have to produce not only enough for their families but also for industries and urban population. They also have to produce cash crops either for processing by local industries or for export. Still they lack the basic necessities of life.
Co-operative is a vital issue in every community in this world. Place where it has been properly put into effective operation, its members have greatly achieve something from it. Idah Local Government area is one of the areas where co-operative societies have improved the live of its citizens.
Hence assistance should be given to the rural people e.g. Idah people so as to enable them improve politically, economically, socially and otherwise through co-operative societies.
This project therefore, intends to examine rural development, discuss or diagnose strategies adopted by coo-operative societies in developing rural areas. Examine the problem areas if coo-operative societies and to provide recommendation or solution to the problem so far identified.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Perhaps, one of the greatest problem confronting Rural Development today is the loop sided and unbalanced development of their environment and how best to improve the living standard of the rural dwellers. It is not in correct to state that the gross unbalance and inequalities in the level of development between the rural and urban areas of Nigeria is enormous taking Idah local government area for example. Inspite of all the orchestrated policies and programmes of successive government in Nigeria, the problem of rural backwardness and under – development has remained unresolved. This is evident in the persistence of agriculture stagnation, hunger, poverty, disease, unemployment, poor housing, under-employment, poor infrastructure facilities. Most of our rural areas also suffer from inadequacy of social services, high birth rate and death rate, low life expectance, malnutrition and Ignorance, lack of productive, technical and managerial skill to improve production.
In the light of these problems, the researcher is therefore boarded and wants to probe into the activities of co-operative societies to know whether they are contributing towards the development of our rural areas with a particular focus on Idah Local government area of Kogi State.
The researcher also intends to investigate the impact of co-operative societies on rural development by identifying the above mentioned phenomenon and to know the prospect and problems encounted by co-operative so cities in their attempt to develop the rural dwellers.
1.3 THE AIM AND OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The broad objective of the study is to examine the contribution of co-operative societies to the development of Idah Local Government Area.
The specific objectives are as follows:
1. To identify or determine whether co-operatives societies have contributed to the development of rural areas in Idah Local government Area.
2. To find out the financial problem areas affecting the contribution of co-operative societies to the development of Idah Local Government Area.
3. To determine the impact of the strategies design and adopted by co-operative societies in rural development/
4. Make recommendation on ways towards ensuring greater success of co-operative societies in future.
1.4 THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study intends to achieve the following objectives.
1. Help in educating the farmers and the entire rural dwellers on the importance of co-operative societies.
2. Also at the end of the research work, the general public would have gained a lot of knowledge on the importance of co-operative societies.
3. The study will also be significant to future researchers on the facts of rural areas.
4. Also helps to discover, problems of co-operative societies and provide recommendation to the problem identified.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTION
The following questions are to guide the researcher towards finding out the solutions related to the problems, objective and the question of research.
1. Do co-operative societies play vital role in the development of rural areas?
2. Do financial problem hinder the activities of co-operative societies.
3. How helpful are government and financial institutions in enhancing the activities/ roles of co-operative societies?
4. Do you think co-operative societies provide infrastructures towards the development of rural areas?
5. Do you consider the training of c-operative personnel important towards enhancing their performance as an instrument of development?
1.6 THE SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
It is a know fact that development is not confined to any particular area but all over the globe.
However, this study focuses its attention on the development of rural areas through the effort of co-operative societies with reference to Idah Local Government Area in Kogi State. Hence the type of co-operative societies, role, prospect and problems would be looked into with particular emphasis to Idah Local Government Area.
The Limitation of the study among other things include time constraints, lack of enough funding and lack of access to adequate data a regards to the topic under study etc.
1.7 DEFINITION OF KEY TERMS
It is important to give a brief definition of the following key terms, in order to know the meaning of the key concept and some words in the research project.
According to Todarro 1977, he defines development as a many sided process involving changes in structure, institutions and attitude as well as the acceleration of economic growth, the reduction in inequality and eradication of hunger and poverty in a given society.
2. RURAL AREAS:
An area, which is so backward in terms of social amenities and other materials found in urban areas.
3. RURAL DEVELOPMENT
Rural Development in a multi dimensional process by which productivity, income and welfare in terms of health, nutrition, education and other features of satisfactory life of rural people can be improved or transformed.
As association of persons usually of limited means who have come together to achieve a common economic goal through equitable contribution.
5. DIRECTIVE APPROVACH
This top-bottom approach in any rural setting is where agencies either local government, state government and federal government tries to identify the felt-need of people in the community. This approach comes in when there is lack of human and material resources, provision of technical know-how for the community development. Introduction of new method in education, weaving modern system of farming for rural people.
6. NON-DIRECTIVE APPROACH
The people of the community identify their own felt – need i.e. their duty to plan for action and also implement it. Government/ Philanthropists do not come in but they can seek advice in terms of technicality. It is usually applied to developed society or rural areas that have adequate human, material resources.
7. MID-WAY APPROACH
This is a situation where by the people of the community and the agencies identify their own felt –needs by providing human and material resources. More emphasis is given to the people. This approach is applied to both primitive and developed societies or communities.
Isaac 2005 citing Onyishi define felt-needs as those tangible and intangible things the community or group require as essential to its survival as an organic whole. Without those this, the community or group may disintegrate or remain stagnant. Such things vary from society to society and as such they are better identified by the society itself.