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Abstract

The study determines the role of farmers’ cooperative societies in rural development in Okrika Local Government Area (LGA) in Rivers State, Nigeria. A structured survey was conducted on a random sample of 105 farmers. Almost 90% of the respondents were members of farmers’ cooperative societies, with the highest participation (61%) registered in fishermen cooperatives. Financial assistance was the main benefit derived from membership in farmers’ cooperative societies, while fostering unity in the solution of problems was the main role of farmers’ cooperatives in rural development : both issues were identified by 100% of respondents. Additional roles included mobilization of people to participate in other rural projects and training of leaders for rural enterprises (about 75% of the respondents for each issue). Provision of agricultural extension services and strengthening of rural industries were identified as least satisfactory in the cooperative’s range of activities. The study accordingly recommends to put more effort in improvement of extension services and strengthening of rural based industries by farmers’ cooperatives.

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