AUTHOR : EZEJI, OGUERI MARTIN (MSc)
DEPARTMENT : AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS
AFFILIATION : FEDERAL UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, OWERRI
The broad objective of this study is to assess the performance of women farmers’ cooperative societies in the mobilization of savings in Imo State. The specific objectives are: to identify the socio-economic characteristics and activities of women farmers’ cooperative societies, to identify the sources of funding, determine the level or amount of savings mobilized and to assess the performance level of the women farmers’ cooperatives in savings mobilization, determine the factors affecting the amount of savings mobilized, evaluate the extent to which savings mobilized have been effectively utilized, and identify problems encountered in the mobilization of savings as well as the overall management of women farmers’ cooperative societies in Imo State. A proportionate sampling method and a two-stage simple random sampling techniques were employed in selecting the women farmers’ cooperative societies. Data were collected using questionnaire along side personal observation. Data collected were analyzed using descriptive statistics, chi-square test and multiple regression techniques. The result of total savings mobilized showed that savings mobilized by women farmers’ cooperative was very low with an average savings of N98, 895.00 per annum. The amount of savings mobilized affects significantly the performance level of the women farmers’ cooperative in the study area. The level of savings mobilized was low meaning that the performance was low. The factors influencing the amount of savings mobilized by the women cooperative societies were found to be membership size, years of existence, net investment surpluses, share capital, entrance fees, thrift and savings contribution and cooperative education. The results of uses of the mobilized savings showed that little use was made of the mobilized savings. The serious problems faced by the women farmers’ cooperative societies were untimely or off-season supply of fertilizers, high level of poverty, lack of cooperative education, inability to access micro-credit from banks, inability to pool private farms together, low membership size, low investment, diversion of government loans meant for cooperative societies by top government officials, non adherence to due process in registration of cooperative societies, failure of members to pay dues, poor attendance and high default rate in payment of loans. Members see cooperative as an avenue for sharing government money. So far, the Women Farmers’ Cooperative societies in the state have not produced the expected impact on savings mobilization. It is in the light of the above difficulties faced by Women Farmers’ Cooperative Society in Imo State that this study recommends that: government should revive and rehabilitate all the agro-service and tractor hiring centres in the state, supply of fertilizers and other improved farm inputs at subsidized rate to cooperative societies before farming season begins.