Thesis Open Access
Aschalew Mengistu Dabulo
People form cooperatives to do something better than they could do individually or through a non-cooperative form of business. Forming a cooperative will not automatically solve economic and social problems. This is because of cooperatives are subject to challenges from internal and external environment. Different rating variables provided for 103 sample respondents randomly selected from 26 (twenty six) fruits and vegetables marketing cooperatives in Gamo Gofa to investigate challenges and opportunities on cooperative growth. The sample was taken after grouping cooperatives in to three categories based on their member size. One primary cooperative was selected from each group and finally three cooperatives identified for primary data. In addition, FGD and key informant interview were also important sources of the primary data. The data collected were analyzed using simple statistical tools such as frequencies, percentages, tables, mean and standard deviation with the help of a statistical package called Statistical package for social science (SPSS). Cooperatives growth, challenges and opportunities were assessed against different variables and mean values perceived by members (respondents) were used to generalize the situation. The results suggested that fruits and vegetables cooperatives in the study area were not in a position to fully exploit the opportunities provided by the existing environment due to excessive challenge in the operating environment. Challenges emanated from internal weakness of cooperatives include; the way members dealing with their cooperatives, governance issues like; low representation of female members, lack of transparency and accountability, strong degree of reliance on government support and lead by unqualified (elected) leaders. Challenges posed by the external environment include; high influence of vested interest, small and fragmented farm land and absences of healthy political environment, inadequate training access and low price for their products in the presences of opportunities; accessible marketing information, supportive social environment and conducive policy environment. For pronounced growth of Fruit and vegetables Cooperatives in the study area measures should be taken to minimize challenges from internal and external environment and opportunities should be expanded based on assessment results.