The Status, Challenges and Opportunities of Primary Multipurpose Agricultural Cooperatives (PMPACs) in Northern Ethiopia: The Case of Gozamin District, East Gojjam, Amhara National Regional State

Ketemaw Melkamu


Ethiopia is an agrarian country where the agriculture sector is the main economic stay of about 84% of its population. Taking this fact into account, the government has placed large emphasis and made a great investment on promoting co-operatives, especially the agriculture-oriented ones, among other organizations, to transform the sector. To this end, a study of 120 farmers randomly selected in 3 kebeles (the lower administrative units) with a cooperative membership criterion was conducted in Gozamin District, East Gojjam, Ethiopia to assess the status of primary multipurpose agricultural cooperatives (PMPACs), the type of services they are offering to their members, their major challenges and opportunities influencing their performance in the real situation. The study found that PMPACs were the dominant ones by status (i.e. by function, by the size of membership and capital accumulation) than other cooperatives established in the study area. They were mainly engaged in the supply of farm inputs and consumer goods to their members. Besides, the provision of additional services like credit, marketing and milling varied from one kebele to the other indicating the locational differences in their financial capacities and the service demands of their members. Moreover, the study identified negative attitude, poor management and limited capital as the major challenges, and the existence of conducive agro-climatic conditions for agricultural production, interest of the society to form such cooperatives and a good access to road and market as the major opportunities of PMPACs in their order of importance. Finally, the study puts the following suggestions to tackle their challenges and then fully exploit the identified opportunities: The cooperative promotion offices at the District and Zonal levels, and if needed, at Regional and Federal levels, among other stakeholders, should provide basic trainings on the objectives, principles and values, and functions of cooperatives to members and the general public to brainwash the negative attitude developed in the past regime. Besides, the respective offices should closely work with the cooperatives to help them employ cooperative managers on merit basis and arrange a regular managerial skill enhancing trainings to their managers and management bodies to enable them exercise an effective and efficient management. The concerned stakeholders should also help these cooperatives to formulate some strategies to increase members’ capital subscription and to create linkages with financial institutions to access credits to solve their shortage of capital.

Keywords: Status, service provision, challenges, opportunities, multipurpose, primary, agricultural cooperatives, Ethiopia.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3186 ISSN (Online)2225-0921

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