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The Cooperative Challenge : Farmer Cooperation and the Politics of Agricultural Modernisation in 21st Century Uganda

by Flygare, Sara

Abstract (Summary)
The main purpose of this dissertation is to study whether the official rhetoric on the role that cooperatives could play in the quest for agricultural modernisation in Uganda have any resemblance with how farmers view the benefits and problem with cooperation. This question was motivated by the political initiative in the early 21st century to revive the cooperative movement in Uganda, a movement burdened with a history of political intervention and difficulties to adapt to a de-regulated agricultural market system. In the thesis, the move to revive the cooperative movement is linked to another more encompassing political initiative, that of the modernisation and commercialisation of small-scale agriculture. The book consists of two empirical studies, where interviews and text analysis have been important research methods. By first analysing the rhetoric emanating from political institutions and donor agencies, the conclusion is drawn that cooperatives are seen primarily as an institutional device which, it is hoped, will fill spaces that have been abandoned by the state and not filled with private sector initiatives.A focused case study of a dairy cooperative and a number of its members in Uganda shows that farmers’ expectations of the cooperative to some extent converge with those revealed in the first study: for example they expected the cooperative to provide a stable outlet for their production of milk. The interviews and quantitative analysis indicate that farmers’ preferences for both fast cash and a stable income can create incentives for members to free-ride on the collective efforts of their fellow members. This can be cumbersome in a competitive marketing situation where other buyers compete with the cooperative for the members’ produce. The cooperative can find it difficult to secure a necessary level of member commitment if members do not share a common code of conduct.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Uppsala universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:Economic history; Agricultural modernisation; cooperatives; cooperation; free-riding; dairy farmers; milk market; Africa; Uganda; Mukono; international donor policy; Ekonomisk historia; Economic History; ekonomisk historia

ISBN:91-554-6718-0

Date of Publication:01/01/2006

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