Examining Members Commitment, Heterogeneity and Social Capital Within the Membership Base of Agricultural Cooperatives in Udenu Local Government Area Enugu State

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International Journal of Research and Innovation in Applied Science (IJRIAS) |Volume VIII, Issue III, March 2023|ISSN 2454-6194

Examining Members Commitment, Heterogeneity and Social Capital Within the Membership Base of Agricultural Cooperatives in Udenu Local Government Area Enugu State

Okafor, Ogochukwu Esther1, Michael Maureen Chinenye2, Dr. Okafo OKOREAFFIA3
1Department of Cooperative Economics & Management, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria
2&3Federal Polytechnic Nekede Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria
*Corresponding Author
Received: 26 February 2023; Revised: 09 March 2023; Accepted: 16 March 2023; Published: 18 April 2023

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Abstract: – The study examined the membership commitment, heterogeneity and social capital within the membership of agricultural cooperative in Udenu Local Government Area. The study adopted a descriptive survey research design. Purposive sampling technique was used to select the societies from which the samples were drawn. The main research instrument used for the collection of data was the questionnaire. The sample size used was 100. The result revealed that social capital influences sustenance of capacity for collective action, lowers transaction costs in contracting via trust, offers access information via networks of contacts, helps companies enhance their competitive advantage and promote performance, facilitates information exchange and resource flow and motivates product innovation. It was also revealed that gender of agricultural cooperative membership has no effect on social capital. Thus men and women have equal structural social capital, social connections and relationships with other members, and have equal extent of sharing information and resources that can improve their participation in economic activities in the cooperatives. Social capital diversity impact agricultural productivity and economic sustainability. Finally, it was revealed that social capital diversity enhances social responsibility by promoting the use of sustainable agricultural farming practices and thereby contributing to environmental sustainable development. The study recommended that attention to should be given on gender differences in social network formation.

Keywords: Members Commitment, Heterogeneity, Agricultural Cooperative and Social Capital

1.1. Background to the Study

Cooperative may be seen as an independent and voluntary association of people with a common goal that pool their resources together for the purpose of improvement of its members in terms of economic, social welfare and otherwise. Nigeria as a developing nation, relies mostly on Agricultural product thus, has many agricultural cooperatives but not limited to Consumers Cooperatives, Supply, Purchasing Cooperatives and Marketing Cooperatives etc. It is worth to note that for any cooperative to be fully functional and seeks to actualize its’ objectives, there must be member commitment and Social capitals between and among the members of the Cooperatives. Yining, Qiao, and Zuhui (2018) categorized social capital into bonding and bridging social capital which would be extensively discussed with respect to Agricultural Cooperative in Udenu Local Government in the preceding chapters. More so, the existence of strength in diversity could be positive realization of heterogeneity among the membership cooperatives. On the contrary, heterogeneity may be an impediment to cooperatives’ progress if not properly handled. Member heterogeneity in cooperative is of various dimension; gender, farm size and geographic dispersion, time horizons, risk attitudes and perceptions, contractual relationship of each member to the cooperative, distribution of honorary posts among members and products delivered to the cooperative.

In view of social capital, it was noted the core idea of social capital is “relationship matters” or “social networks value” (Field, 2008). The term “social capital” is believed to have been first used by Hanifan in 1916 to highlight the role of community in improving school performance in the neighbourhood. Fukuyama (1999), presents a definition of social capital as being an informal norm that promotes cooperation between two or more individuals, possibly those norms varying from reciprocity between two friends even the complex doctrines like that of Christianity or Confucianism. Social capital is productive, making possible the realization of certain goals which, in their absence, would not be possible. Therefore, while evaluating the Agricultural cooperatives in Udenu Local Government Area, the aforementioned variables would serve as the key variables so as to understand their impacts on the cooperatives.